Australiasian Firefighter Exchange Fellowship

The International Firefighter Exchange Fellowship (IFEF) is a program for firefighters, creating opportunities for exchanges between Australia and overseas Fire Departments.

Some of the benefits to be gained from participating in the program are:

  • Be able to share knowledge and improve efficiency and morale
  • Build international networks
  • Professionally represent your home fire service
  • Gain knowledge in specialist areas
  • Gain interesting life experience from living in a location away from your home base
  • Experience growth in your professionalism and understanding of different organisations/cultures.

About the Firefighter Exchange Fellowship

Am I eligible for an exchange?

How do I apply?




About the Firefighter Exchange Fellowship

The International Firefighter Exchange Fellowship (IFEF) was initiated by the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFB), Melbourne, as a Centennial program in 1992.

The program is a cooperative venture between Australian and New Zealand Fire Services with participation from overseas Fire Services. Initially Fire Services in Canada and UK were approached to pilot the program, and to date, exchanges have been made with Canada, Sweden, United Kingdom, Ireland and the USA. The program provides an invaluable opportunity for networking between Fire and Emergency Services around the world.

Following its inception, it was identified that there is also a benefit in the exchanging of ideas within Australia and New Zealand, and thus the Exchange Fellowship Program also includes interstate exchanges and exchanges between Australia and New Zealand.

The term ‘fellowship’ is used to indicate the spirit of the exchange. The concept of fellowship is used in the hope and expectation that those firefighters and their families will be keen to join the network of others who have benefited from an exchange and will continue to participate in promoting the program to others.

Exchanges are usually not just about the exchanging of jobs. In most cases, houses and possessions are also swapped. The professional needs of exchange partners are taken care of by the matching of skills and experience, social and family environments. Seniority and rank are not interrupted during the exchange. All benefits are retained.

Am I eligible for an exchange?

To be eligible to participate in the program you will need to be an experienced and qualified firefighter, with a minimum of four years full time service. Officers may apply, but while on the exchange, will perform the role of firefighter. Your fire service is likely to have established criteria for participating in the program.

The endorsement of your fire service is compulsory for your application to be considered.

Please read through all of the information and application package documents listed below to further clarify if you are eligible for an exchange.

How do I apply?

Expression of Interest

Applicants wanting to exchange to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade can lodge an expression of interest only (including risk assessment pro forma) with the firefighter exchange coordinators at any time of the year (applications are not required at this stage).

It is important that applicants ensure that they have received endorsement from their fire service and have an exchange coordinator before lodging an expression of interest for an exchange.

Suitable match/exchange

The MFB will keep all expressions of interest on file and will make note of interested areas when advertising for internal applicants at the start of each year for an exchange to occur in the following year. Supported MFB applicants will also be notified of interested external applicants when looking for an exchange match.


If you are selected as a suitable match you will be asked to submit an application form. The MFB exchange coordinator will also liaise with the external applicant’s coordinator to finalise contract details.

Other Fire Services

If you want to apply to other fire services in Australia or New Zealand, please see the information package for contact details. Please ensure that you make note of other fire services that you are applying to when lodging your expression of interest.


Introduction to AFEF

Application package

Risk Assessment Pro Forma

 AFEF process map - external applicant

AFEF application process - MFB applicant



Metropolitan Fire Brigade

MFB Organisational Development Department

PO Box 151

East Melbourne Victoria 8002


Ph: + 61 (03) 9420 3957

Fax: + 61 (03) 9665 4443


Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC)

Level 5, 340 Albert Street

East Melbourne Victoria 3128


Ph: + 61 (03) 9419 2388

Fax: + 61 (03) 9419 2389


Back to top
Facts and Features
Safety Tip

The Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council (AFAC) recommends monthly testing of smoke alarms to ensure they are working correctly.

Its True

Only working Smoke Alarms save lives.

Dial 000 for emergency