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It’s such a small group that I never really believed I had a shot at becoming a member. So when I made the qualifications and they said “yeah, we’d like you to come on board”, I was ecstatic.

Senior Firefighter, Derek Rogers

CFD Honour Guard recruitment poster calling for applications

CFD Honour Guard ‘call for applications’, May 2015.

The Honour Guard only recruits every 18-24 months, and just a handful of firefighters are selected each time. Many firefighters apply, but only the best of the best get taken on for duty. This makes the Calgary Fire Honour Guard an elite group.

The Guard’s international reputation means that newcomers are expected to reach ever increasing standards. During the recruitment process, interested firefighters must submit a written application, attend an in person interview, and take part in a drill evaluation.

14 men stand at attention during a drill to try out for Honour Guard.

Prospective Honour Guard members being put through their paces, 2015.

When the Honour Guard started, any member could join if they had a military background. Now drill experience is not essential. The mentality and desire of the applicant are much more important. Do they have the correct mindset? Do they have a willingness to honour the fallen? Successful applicants regularly attend practice and meetings, and show sufficient commitment and improvement throughout their probation.

Over the course of the next year, provisional Guards spend time working on their drill and conduct, aspiring to reach the high standards set and expected by the Honour Guard. Members practice and improve their technique year after year, motivated by a desire to serve the department and its members with distinction.