Hong Kong’s Fire Services Department seeks cool heads
While as rewarding as ever, the work the men and women of the Fire Services Department do to protect the people of Hong Kong from fire and other calamities is constantly evolving.
"As the community continues to develop, the department is facing increasing challenges arising from, for example, higher public expectations, the increasing demands on the ambulance service, and the proliferation of high-rise buildings and infrastructure," says Yeung Kai-wang, assistant divisional officer in the department's recruitment, training and examination group.
"Moreover, to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness, various specialist teams - such as the emergency medical assistant II for paramedics, the high angle rescue team, the hazardous materials team, and the urban search and rescue team - have been established in recent years to provide fire and rescue services for different kinds of incidents."
The department is recruiting for a number of roles, including:
- Station officers (operational), who are in charge of a fire station or an emergency appliance and lead the response to an emergency.
- Senior firemen and women (control), whose main responsibilities are to perform control and mobilising duties.
- Firemen and women (operational and marine), who carry out firefighting and rescue work, and perform fire protection duties on land and sea.
- Ambulance officers, who are charged with running ambulance depots and leading ambulance duties in emergencies.
- Ambulancemen and women, who carry out pre-hospital care service and emergency ambulance duties.
Yeung says all the men and women serving in the department require a number of personal qualities and strengths. These include maturity and confidence, a high standard of integrity, a dedication to providing quality service, a readiness to meet challenges and handle any crisis they may face, social awareness, an ability to solve problems, good judgement, and effective communication skills.
Officer grades also need the ability to lead both in routine circumstances and in emergencies.
To recruit suitable candidates, the department introduced a written aptitude test in 2008 to assess the numerical, verbal, mechanical and visual-spatial reasoning abilities of candidates. And in order to scientifically develop a set of physical fitness protocols for recruitment, it hired a consultant to develop a unique physical fitness test and a job-related performance test.