Work in CERN's Fire and Rescue Service

CERN recruits firefighters every year. Are you ready for your next challenge?

CERN: a place like no other

Imagine working and learning in a cutting-edge, high-tech industrial setting, while also having the chance to share your expertise with firefighting professionals from over 15 different countries.

Imagine expanding your horizons, challenging yourself to respond to unique hazards such as cryogenics, chemicals, radioactivity, high tension electricity, mechanical systems, rope rescue, underground spaces/tunnels, and any combination of the above. Whilst maintaining a regular programme of station duties.

Imagine serving and supporting a thriving community of over 16,000 people from across the globe, ensuring the safe operation and continuity of the largest and most complex research apparatus ever built, whilst safeguarding its neighbours and the local environment of our 623ha site.

This is life as a member of the CERN fire and rescue service.

Alongside operational interventions, we work a regular programme of maintenance, control room supervision, administrative duties, and training. CERN fire and rescue personnel experience an operating environment like nowhere else.

Find out more about CERN here.

Working at the CERN Fire and Rescue Service :


I get to work with some of the most knowledgeable firefighters from around Europe

Read more about Petter's experience as a firefighter at CERN.

Do you have what it takes?

We are seeking fire and rescue professionals who must:

  • Currently work, and have demonstrated experience, as a professional firefighter in a public or company fire service.
  • Have experience of and are able to drive and operate a fire engine, possessing the relevant ‘type C’ driving licence.
  • Be fluent in either French or English and be willing to learn the other. A good knowledge of both would be an advantage.
  • Be experienced in general firefighting duties such as compartment firefighting/wearing of breathing apparatus, road traffic collisions and casualty extrication, and basic life support.
  • Are able to play their part in an international team of various cultures, experiences and beliefs. Adapting to an ever-changing environment to serve CERN's international community.

We will also look for competency in:

  • Emergency first response including rescue operations and emergency medical care.
  • Hazardous materials response operations.
  • Station duties such as maintenance and record keeping, use of standard office software packages.

Experience in the following areas would be an advantage:

  • Delivering training to firefighters and the general public.
  • Control rooms and emergency call handling.
  • Ambulance settings.
  • Rope rescue.
  • Situations involving hazardous chemicals, cryogenics, or radiation.

All firefighters joining CERN follow an intensive ten week induction period (see FAQs below). The six newcomers of the 'class of 2024' completed theirs in May 2024. Meet them in the video below!


Join the team

Opportunities open each year in April-May with a deadline in August, typically to hire 5-7 firefighters.

We're recruiting now! Apply online here (deadline 18 August)

People at CERN are great co-workers and become even better friends.

Read about Gunnar's experience as a firefighter and paramedic at CERN.

Additional Information & FAQs

Click each heading or question to expand

+ Questions about working as a firefighter at CERN

+ What is the current team structure?

The Fire and Rescue Service is a group within the HSE Unit and is made up of 48 firefighters and watch managers, 7 fire officers, and 3 management support staff. The 48 firefighters and watch managers are divided into 4 teams of 12:2 watch managers, some control room specialists, ambulance technicians and technical specialists (hazardous materials, radiation protection, rope rescue, etc). Some firefighters have multiple specialisms. These teams are a mix of nationalities, experience, and specialisms. We recognize the advantages of stability in a team, but sometimes we have to transfer individual firefighters between teams to enhance the overall composition of all teams.


+ What would an average day look like?

You arrive at approximately 07:00 or 19:00, to take over shift from the previous team. As in every fire station, the specifics of the last 12 to 24 hours are exchanged. The roles for the shift are then distributed by the watch manager (e.g. who drives the fire engine, who is in the control room and who on the ambulance). Also, specific tasks and visits are planned in the day. Of course, during every shift (day, night, and weekend) there is time destined to exercise as well as coffee and meal breaks.

Specific to our fire service is that we maintain the thousands of fire extinguishers, AED’s and other firefighting equipment on different locations at CERN. For this, specific visits and logistical activities are planned. At the CFRS, station and equipment maintenance (e.g. vehicles, breathing apparatus) are carried out during the shift. During the night shift, if the operational situation allows it, there is time to rest after midnight.


+ How are the shift schedules organized?

A cycle of two 12-hour dayshifts and two 12-hour night shifts is followed by a period of four days off. However, some specific training days (on-site or off-site) or extra operational duties can be planned in these 4-day off periods.

Next to your 12-hour shift patterns, there are also firefighters who are then on call 24/7 as their standby duty. This means that you must be operationally ready and able to respond within one hour in case of a major or specific incident when you are called. This is the reason that you must ‘live and reside in the vicinity of the Laboratory’. This standby duty is shared rotationally across the team.


+ How many people are there in a shift?

There are 4 teams of 12 Firefighters and 1 team of 6 Fire Officers. The daily planning is 8 Firefighters per shift and 2 Fire Officers.


+ What equipment is available?

Next to the 2 fire engines and 2 ambulances, we also have specialized equipment for operations in our tunnels. i.e. Electric tractor-trailers to move personnel and equipment. We also have several logistical vehicles. If we need turntables or aerials, we request host states’ assistance from France or Switzerland.


+ What are the development opportunities in this role?

New colleagues on a Limited Duration contract normally focus on CFRS internal developments. That can be focused on a specialisation such as Control Room, Ambulance, or technical aspects such as rope rescue, radiation protection, HAZMAT). Some firefighters, depending on the service needs and personal qualifications, can be selected for a leading position on the fire engine or as a watch manager.


+ What could I expect from the first few weeks as a CERN Firefighter?

The start date is planned for March/April of the year following the recruitment campaign. Together with your fellow firefighters, you will embark on a 10-week on-the-job training that covers a wide range of introductory trainings and exercises. You will focus on the infrastructure of CERN: where is everything located and what are the specifics.


+ What kind of collaboration do you have between CFRS and public rescue departments on the area?

There is a formal agreement between France and Switzerland and CERN, to ensure that it is very easy to request and deliver mutual fire and rescue assistance. There is also an agreement between the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG) and CERN regarding emergency medical response and assistance. The CFRS participates in and organizes exercises and training with the neighbouring French and Swiss emergency services.


+ Planned Capability Improvements for CFRS

The Fire and Rescue Service group was recently given the approval to upgrade the facilities in terms of acquiring a new fire truck, a new ambulance, as well as a robot for underground interventions.

+ Questions about the hiring process and relocation

+ What does the recruitment process for Firefighters at CERN look like?

After you’ve submitted your application, it will then be reviewed. Successful candidates will be invited to complete an asynchronous video interview to learn more about them and their experience. The next step for successful candidates will be an online video panel interview that evaluates a person’s practical experience and understanding as a Professional Firefighter. As a last step, the final selected candidates will be invited to an onsite visit at CERN to learn more about CERN’s Fire and Rescue Service as well as further evaluate their skills and ability as a Firefighter. After this, offers will be made to the selected candidates.


+ I would need to relocate to the region. How would I be supported?

For eligible candidates, CERN supports individuals and families in relocating to their area with financial installation and travel allowances, as well what’s called international indemnity. CERN has a marketplace that is a great resource when relocating. It should be noted that CERN does not support individuals and families in finding accommodation in the area nor work opportunities for the rest of family. However, given the international environmental of CERN, there are often individuals who are willing to offer advice and tips and tricks.


+ What kind of salary can I expect (outside of any additional benefits)?

Each vacancy at CERN is allocated a grade. For our Firefighters, the minimum grade is 2. Your salary will be calculated depending on your relevant experience in accordance with the grade. Additionally, all salaries at CERN are displayed as a net of tax amount. For more information, head on over to


+ What are the other benefits that CERN offers?

CERN offers a wide variety of benefits that you could be eligible for, from family and child allowances to educational allowances as well as generous leave allowance (30 paid days a year). Firefighters are also eligible for what we call shift allowance. For further details about the benefits that CERN can offer you, check out


+ How easy is it to get around the region?

As a Firefighter at CERN, you would be required to stay within close proximity to the CERN sites. The public transport system in Geneva and France is well supported with many bus, tram, and train lines. For transport in Geneva, TPG and surrounding Swiss areas, SBB. For more information, you can check out the UNIRESO website.


+ I have a question that isn’t listed here. What do I do?

For any questions, you can contact for further information.