Course Description

This online course is 36 learning hours over twelve weeks, including 7.5 hours of live online sessions. It is recommended that students spend a minimum of 3 hours each week on coursework. Students may choose to complete more hours of work on the course in order to explore the content in more depth.

About 90% of a typical career fire department’s budget is the cost of compensation for employees in wages and fringe benefits. Fire departments cannot operate without trained and motivated personnel who can function both independently and as a team - depending on the requirements of the situation. This course will not present the standard topics of human resources personnel management “adapted” for the fire service. Rather the organizing principle will be to consider personnel problems within the fire service and then consider ways to address these problems using standard analysis and human resources management practices.

Course Outline

Unit One: Station and Team Life – Problems and Solutions

  • appreciate the causes of many personnel problems which arise as adaptations to station life; and
  • develop and adapt modifications to station life activities so as to correct these personnel problems.

Unit Two: Building, Selecting and Engaging the Team

  • identify and justify criteria for the selection of firefighters;
  • modify firefighter job descriptions depending on fire department need;
  • actively recruit and fairly select (or at least with justification select) members of minority groups for the fire service; and
  • design and justify methods of promotion for fire officers.

Unit Three: Leading, Motivating and Integrating the Team

  • describe characteristics of the typical volunteer department and typical volunteer firefighter;
  • identify trends which affect volunteer recruitment;
  • enhance motivation by training and promotion;
  • understand the interaction of factors which determine leadership effectiveness;
  • explain the process which leads to instability in the ratios of volunteer to paid personnel in composite departments; and
  • propose and evaluate changes which would attempt to harmonize relations between volunteer and paid personnel.

Unit Four: Keeping the Team Mentally and Physically Healthy and Safe

  • appreciate the extent of the impact of the NFPA 1500 series on the fire service;
  • be able to devise a rational means of allocating scarce resources so as meet safety standards, and appreciate the cognitive biases that hinder obtaining a rational means to meet safety standards;
  • describe the general adaptation syndrome, the emotional manifestations of stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • outline the steps necessary to develop a critical incident response team; and
  • present the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a physical fitness program within the fire department.

What You Will Learn

This course will use a problem-solving approach to define, apply and present solutions and tools to address the most significant asset of the fire service – people. The useful topics of building the team, leading the team, and keeping it healthy and safe will be addressed. In addition, the course will begin with some assessment of station life and the ways in which that quality of life can be assured, thereby sustaining proactive and practical insights into the culture of the workplace.


For more Fire Service Management courses click here.

The Faculty of OLCD recommends an intermediate level of English language proficiency for the most effective learning and participation in our online and face-to-face courses. A list of minimum recommended scores on some common English tests can be found on our website. If you have questions about your English language proficiency and ability to succeed in this course, please contact openlearning@dal.ca.


This course is one of six required courses in the Certificate in Fire Service Administration program. The Certificate in Fire Service Leadership program is a prerequisite to the CFSA program.

Prerequisite: Completion of the "Certificate in Fire Service Leadership"

Recommended For

This course will be of interest to:

  • all students who seek to build skills for promotion;
  • senior leaders who wish to assess their departments’ strategies and approaches to common people challenges;
  • current supervisors looking for insights and approaches to daily problems and opportunities;
  • firefighters seeking to understand their daily work life and influences on the performance of the team.
Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Fire Department Human Resource Management I
Online - Self-Paced
Sep 06, 2024 to Nov 29, 2024
Online - Scheduled
3:30PM to 5:00PM
Sep 09, 2024 to Oct 21, 2024
Schedule and Location
Total Learning Hours
  • Online Campus - Atlantic Time
Instruction Delivery Method(s)
Course Fee(s)
Fee non-credit $1,095.00
Required Software
A webcam and microphone/headset will be required for the live sessions.
Section Notes

This course has scheduled written assignments and discussions within the term time frame. There will also be 5 facilitated online sessions - click on View Details for dates. *Please note: Live session dates may be subject to change based on instructor schedule.* Attendance at live sessions is required to obtain the full participation grade for the course.

The course site will be open at 4:00 PM Atlantic Time on the course start date.

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