Home | volunteer firefighter

Why Fire Extinguisher Training Is Important to Comply with OSHA Regulations

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Practical fire extinguisher training is essential to save lives in any type of fire scenario. Most homeowners and all workplaces have one or more types of fire extinguishers strategically located throughout their homes/properties. Knowing how to properly use one in an emergency situation is a valuable life lesson.

Most people are familiar with the portable fire extinguisher and how to use one—the acronym PASS is helpful to remember (pull pin, aim low, squeeze lever slowly, sweep side-to-side). But knowing when to use a fire extinguisher and the type of fire a fire extinguisher is designed for is also important.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that all employers provide operational fire extinguishers within their place of business. Furthermore, OSHA has also published a list of regulations to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of the general public when it comes to using fire extinguishers.

OSHA Regulations About Fire Extinguisher Training

  • Employees must be trained in use of fire extinguishers when first hired and once a year thereafter.
  • Fire extinguishers are to be identified with above signage indicating location.
  • Fire extinguishers must be accessible without obstructions.
  • All fire extinguishers must be OSHA-approved.
  • Fire extinguishers must be charged, operational, and in their designated place when not in use.
  • Fire extinguishers cannot contain carbon tetrachloride or chlorobromomethane.
  • Fire extinguishers must be mounted on brackets or in wall cabinets with the carrying handle placed 3-1/2 to 5 feet above the floor.
  • Fire extinguishers require a monthly visual inspection of all portable extinguishers.
  • Mandatory annual inspections and periodic maintenance inspections must be documented for all fire extinguishers.
  • Employees are prohibited from handling portable fire extinguishers unless trained.

Who Should Get Fire Extinguisher Training? 

To comply with OSHA regulations regarding fire extinguisher use, all employees within an organization—regardless of their position or type of employment—should be trained on how to properly use a fire extinguisher. This training should include educating employees on which type of extinguisher to use for specific fires and how to operate the device safely and effectively.

Do Firefighters Also Need Fire Extinguisher Training?

Part of regular firefighter training involves proper management and use of all types of fire extinguishers. Each and every fire truck has standardized fire extinguishers. Having this knowledge and experience allows firefighters to effectively educate the general public or the community on how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

What Are the Different Fire Classifications?

Fires are classified based on the type of fuel and material within the combustion. Each type is assigned a classification letter.

  • Class A fires refer to the basic combustibles of paper, wood, cloth, plastics, and rubber.
  • Class B fires involve flammable and combustible liquids, tar, oils, petroleum greases, solvents, lacquers, oil-based paints, flammable gases, and alcohols.
  • Class C fires are those of electrical equipment nature.
  • Class D fires include combustible metals of titanium, sodium, lithium, magnesium, potassium, and zirconium.
  • Class K fires are common kitchen appliance-related fires with combustible cooking matters such as vegetable and animal oils and fats.

What Is the Difference Between a Portable vs. a Wheeled Fire Extinguisher?




Size and Weight

Smaller, lightweight and compact

Large, bulky and heavy

Fire Suppression Capability

Limited suppression capacity for small fires

High suppression capacity for large fires

Fire Class

Class A, B, and C fires

Class A, B, C, D and K fires

Suitable For

Offices and homes

Industrial facilities, warehouses, and commercial buildings


Water, foam, wet chemical, dry chemical powder, vaporizing liquid, carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide, dry chemical, halons, dry powder, AFFF-type foam pre-mix solutions


One person

Multiple persons

FESTI’s Fire Extinguisher Training Programs

The Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) is a world-class college offering certification programs and courses to emergency personnel and corporate members. We have two accredited fire extinguisher training certificate courses.

Portable Fire Extinguisher Training

Our Portable Fire Extinguisher training program teaches the science behind fire ignitions, the various classes of fires, and proper extinguishing techniques for a successful outcome. With videos and live fire scenarios, students will gain the knowledge and confidence to react in a safe and effective method.

Wheeled Unit Fire Extinguisher Training

Our Wheeled Unit Fire Extinguisher training program is designed for those working in industries that involve use of large fuel loads. The introductory material of Portable Fire extinguisher training program is included in this course.

Get Fire Extinguisher Training Today to Protect Your Workplace and Employees

As a private career college, FESTI provides the highest standards of certification and education for all emergency response personnel. Our location at Canada’s largest airport of Toronto Pearson International Airport allows our students to immerse in training with the members of the airport’s fully operational fire service.

Contact us here with any questions, concerns, or for more information on our variety of programs, including our onsite fire extinguisher training.

How to Become a Volunteer Firefighter in Canada

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

To become a volunteer firefighter in Ontario, there are specific requirements and skills you should have that ensure you are mentally and physically capable of joining the highly intensive career. Volunteer firefighters work alongside permanent firefighters in response to emergency calls. Most volunteer firefighters have full-time jobs in other fields but have the ability to respond to emergency calls.

Minimum Qualifications Required to Become a Volunteer Firefighter

Pre-firefighter training in Ontario consists of a range of skill development and basic requirements. The following qualifications are needed to become a volunteer firefighter:

  • Hold a valid driver’s license
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Able to understand and communicate in English and/or French (written and oral)
  • Physically able to perform tasks and duties of the job
  • Able to commit scheduled time to training
  • Live and/or work in the response area
  • Be of sound and positive ethics and thrive in a team environment
  • Be conviction free of a criminal offense related to the duties of a firefighter

What Are the Responsibilities of a Volunteer Firefighter?

  • Work as part of an organized team
  • Protect citizens in times of crisis
  • Perform the duties of first responder
  • Respond to a broad range of emergency situations
  • Provide pre-hospital care for victims
  • Be a community role model
  • Upgrade skills, knowledge and physical requirements
  • Maintain the fire station and upkeep of firefighting equipment
  • Perform the duties of administration, fundraising, public education, or other as assigned

The Volunteer Firefighter Recruitment Process

To become a volunteer firefighter in Ontario, the recruitment process can vary from department to department and if the position is within a private company or for a municipality. 

Informational Meeting

During recruitment time, fire departments often offer information meetings open to any interested candidates. This acts as an introduction to the position of a volunteer firefighter and its role responsibilities.


If a person has decided after an information meeting that volunteer firefighting is still a goal, applying for the position is the next step. A basic volunteer application will involve submitting personal information, education background, work history, and a list of credible references. A volunteer must live within a specific distance of the firehouse.

Background Check

As with any form of employment and volunteer position, a background check is conducted to review any criminal convictions, credit history, and driving record.


A competency interview will take place with members of the fire department’s administration and the Fire Chief. Based on the application and any information from the background check, the candidate will have the opportunity to discuss their experience and skills. Proficiencies focus on communication, stress management, teamwork, ethics, and customer service.

Physical Fitness Assessment

A physical fitness assessment is a vital portion of the recruitment process as candidates must be able to perform rigorous tests of endurance, strength, and agility. A full physical medical test will be done in addition to a fitness test that consists of a claustrophobia test, hose advance/drag, a ladder lift, hose carry/climb, rope pull, forced entry, and a victim drag obstacle.


The training process is an ongoing condition of becoming a volunteer firefighter. New recruits will learn the basics of firefighting skills, emergency response protocols, and become familiar with their department’s policies and procedures. Most training sessions can involve seven to 10 weekends of training.

Probationary Period

Depending on the individual fire department, new volunteer recruits may experience a probationary period. This timeline may range from three months to one year. The probationary period is intended to assist the volunteer firefighter and the department to uncover strengths and areas that may need attention in skill building.

Ongoing Training

Just as hired firefighters must continue their studies and training, volunteer members are also required to continuously update their skills and education during their posting.

Do Volunteer Firefighters Get Paid (Regular Salary)?

No, volunteer firefighters do not receive regular salary in their position. There are some fire departments that offer renumeration for call response, training, or other related services. Volunteers can claim expenses through the federal Volunteer Tax Credit.

Volunteer Firefighter Tax Credit Regulation 2023 

The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) continues to ensure the Canadian federal government offers the Volunteer Firefighter Tax Credit to all volunteer firefighters. With the 2023 regulation standing at a maximum limit of $3,000 per year, the CAFC has asked for the amount to be increased to $10,000.

The Volunteer Firefighter Tax Credit is available for those volunteers who regularly attend fire meetings, respond and are on call for all emergency calls, and attend related training programs/workshops. Any volunteer firefighter who contributes at least 200 hours of service per year can apply for the tax credit.

Can a Volunteer Firefighter Become a Full-Time Paid Firefighter?

Yes, with the right firefighter training, a volunteer can become a full-time paid firefighter at departments across the country. Volunteer members are exposed to the basic training and education of the firefighting service which can be expanded to positions with commercial, municipal, and other forms of firefighting.

How FESTI Can Help Fire Departments with the Training of Volunteer Firefighter Recruits

The Fire Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) offers exceptional volunteer firefighting training with our NFPA 1001 Firefighter Training programs. We have an in-house program and a blended program that combines at-home and onsite training courses.

Our firefighter academy offers a variety of certification courses for new and existing firefighters, leadership programs, and EMR courses. FESTI participants have successful careers in essential emergency services.

See our list of volunteer firefighting programs here or contact us for more information.