National legislation

Please choose:



Legislation regarding requirements to join the Service,
training and professional career

Prevention Activities: legislation and regulation

Legislation regarding requirements to join the Service,training and professional career

1. Legal basis

1.1 Under the Austrian constitution, the responsbility for issuing and implementing regulations governing the (ordinary) fire police lies with the nine states (Bundesländer). Basically, legislation on fire service does not vary very much in the individual states, so that the Austrian fire service is fairly uniform.

1.2 Each of the (2.359) Austrian municipalities must establish and maintain an adequate fire service. The concept of "fire police" (in a narrow sense) covers fire prevention, which comes under the municipal building and fire police, fire fighting, which is the responsibility of the municipal fire brigades, and investigation of causes of fire. In the latter activity, the fire service authorities are assisted by the police.

The local authorities fulfil their obligation to establish and maintain adequate organisations by paying all or part of the material costs of the fire service. Staff costs, except in professional and full-time industrial fire services, are paid through voluntary membership contributions from the population of the municipality.

1.3 Laying down and implementing legislation on disaster prevention and disaster control is also primary the responsibility of the individual state government. "Disaster" means any existing or imminent situation caused by natural, technical or other circumstances which involves a risk of injury to persons or property on a large scale. In Austria, disaster control is based on existing rescue organisations, such as the fire service, the Red Cross, mountain and water rescue services.

1.4 The state government have supervisory authority over the local authorities in matter of fire service, the federal government has no supervisory right in this respect.

Tasks of the fire service

  • Firefighting
  • Fire prevention
  • (Technical) assistance in connection with accidents or other situations involving a risk to human or animal life.
  • Assistance in (other) emergency situations involving a risk to property (acts of God, technical emergencies, environmental accidents, etc.).
  • Assistance in connection with accidents involving dangerous substances. Co-operation in civil protection.

Organisation of the Fire Service

2.1 Types of fire services

Under the legislation relating to fire police, each local government must ensure that there is at least one public, adequately manned, equipped, trained and efficient fire brigade in the municipal area. The commanding officer answers to the mayor for the fire brigades efficiency and readiness for action, and he and his staff are employed by the local authority.

The public fire service includes voluntary, compulsory, professional and in some federal states (Bundesländer) also the industrial fire brigades.

At the end of 1999 Austria had 4.874 fire brigades, including 4.555 voluntary fire brigades, six professional fire brigades and 313 industrial fire brigades, none of them based on compulsory service.

2.2. Legal requirements

The tactical organisation and manning of fire services is regulated by the Minimum Requirements for Fire Services from time to time in force. In addition, the standard of fire cover required depends on the size of the population and the risk conditions of the local area, more particularly on the building density and the fire risk associated with the individual buildings, as well as the traffic conditions and the local water supply, and finally, on topographical criteria, such as differences in level.

2.3. Tactical units

The tactical units of the Fire Service are the firefighting group with light water tender or water tender (1:8), the water tender group with a water tanker, emergency tender or universal water tender (1:6) and the firefighting platoon (1:2:16), which consists of two firefighting groups.

Especially in urban areas, these units are reinforced by special appliances, such as turntable ladders, breathing apparatus vehicles, hose layers, and command vehicles, as required.

2.4. Response time

Speed of response to call outs is less than one minute for professional fire services and 2-5 minutes for voluntary fire services. Response time after notification for activities other than fire fighting is max. about 8 minutes in urban areas and max. 10 minutes in rural areas.

2.5. Command and control

First attendances are generally under the command of the local station commander. If required, for example in case of major emergencies, the command may be taken over by a higher-ranking officer.

2.6. Vehicles

In the interests of uniformity in design and outfitting, the vehicles of the Austrian Fire Service comply in almost all respects with guidelines issued by the Austrian Federal Fire Service Association. Crew numbers however vary, especially between professional fire brigades.

(Small) water tenders

  • Crew: 9 men
  • Portable pump with a capacity of 750 or 1200 l/min and/or a front pump delivering 1600 l/min at 10 bar.

Water tenders/rescue vehicles (LF-B)

Specifications similar to water tenders, plus standard equipment for all water tenders and water tankers (hose material, breathing apparatus, ladders, etc. and extra technical equipment for special cases, such as

  • power supply
  • halogen search light (light mast)
  • chain saw
  • submerged pump
  • grinding cutter
  • pulling device
  • hydraulic tools, etc

Water tenders 1000, 1200, 2000 and 4000

  • Crew: 3, 4 or 7 men
  • Water tanks of 1000, 1200, 2000 or 3650 l capacity, usually also incorporating foam compound tanks of 200 - 350 l capacity; built-in rear pumps (usually combined high- and normal-pressure pumps).

Emergency tenders 2000 and 4000

  • Crew: 7 men

Water tanks of 2000 or 3650 l; foam compound tanks of 200 or 350 l; built-in pump as for water tender; plus standard equipment for all water tenders (see above), as well as extra technical equipment for special cases such as

  • cable winch
  • power supply
  • halogen search light (light mast)
  • hydraulic tools
  • chain saw
  • grinding cutter
  • submerged pump

Universal water tenders

  • Crew: 7 men
  • Water tanks of1800 - 2000 l; built-in rear pumps (usually combined high and normal pressure pumps); dry-powder system 750 kg.

Turntable ladder, hydraulic platform, telescope ladders

  • Crew: 3 men
  • Lifting height 25 - 30 m.

Command vehicle

  • Crew: 4 men
  • Radio equipment
    2.7. Special equipment

    Supporting stations (generally in small regional towns), numerous industrial fire services and, naturally, the professional fire services operate a variety of special equipment, such as
    • long-term breathing apparatus
    • protective clothing
    • power supply units with illumination equipment
    • evacuation pump units
    • hydraulic rescue equipment
    • pneumatic and hydraulic lifting equipment
    • flame cutters
    • grinding cutters
    • chain saws
    • air compressors with drilling implements
    • blasting equipment
    • all kinds of tools
    • sand bags, etc.

    Vehicles include:
    • Light emergency tenders - Special tasks (KRF-S)
    • Light emergency tenders - Special tasks (KRF-S)
    • Light emergency tenders - Salvaging (KRF -B)
    • Light emergency tenders - Electricity (KRF-E)
    • Light emergency tenders - Water OW-W)
    • Heavy emergency tenders (SRF)
    • Crane trucks with accompanying vehicles
    • Special vehicles designed, for example, for assisting in accidents involving oil spillage or dangerous substances or accidents requiring breathing apparatus and other personal protection equipment.
    The Fire Services keep a variety of specialised vehicles for water rescue operations and run a diving service for the same purpose.

    3. Disaster control

    In order to be available in case of catastrophes within the entire territory the Austrian fire brigades have set up the fire fighting- and rescue services organisation (FuB-Dienst). With respect to staff and materials this organisation consists of units of (strong) fire brigades. It is drafted in case of large actions and for exercises. The FuB-Dienst consists of lines, fire brigades on call and associations and is earmarked for actions outside the fire brigades own administrative districts. However, as a basic rule, the local preparedness for action of the respective fire-brigades must be ensured.

    4. Economy

    4.1. Pursuant to the legal regulations the municipalities are responsible for financing the fire departments, except, of course, the costs of industrial fire services, which are covered by the owner of the enterprise.

    4.2. Furthermore, the provinces and the provincial fire brigade associations receive a great part of the proceeds under the fire protection tax. These proceeds are largely used for covering the expenditures of the associations, the costs of fire fighting schools and the promotion of purchase of vehicles and equipment.

    4.3. Annual financial support provided from disaster funds has been granted for the purchase of disaster equipment for the fire brigades, since 1971. This support is allocated to the individual states in proportion to size of population.


    Training is performed as follows :
    • within the local fire services
    • Basic and refresher trainining at the fire service schools of the various federal states
    • Special training courses and seminars
    • Fire service competitions (once a year in the federal states)



    1. In Austria the tasks of the fire service are regulated by laws of the federal states

    2. There is a central bureau in each federal state that defines minmal requirements for fire safety of constructions, fire fighting and fire:
    • Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Angelegenheiten, Stubenring 1, A-1011 Wien
    • Zentralarbeitsinspektorat Wien, Sektion IV, beim Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales, Stubenring 1, A-1010 Wien
    • Landesregierung Burgenland, Landhaus, A-7000 Eisenstadt
    • Landesregierung Kärnten, Arnulfplatz 1, A-9020 Klagenfurt
    • Landesregierung Niederösterreich, Herrengasse 9, A-1014 Wien
    • Landesregierung Oberösterreich, Klosterstrasse 7, A-4020 Linz
    • Landesregierung Salzburg, Chiemseehof, A-5010 Salzburg
    • Landesregierung Steiermark, Hofgasse, A-8011 Graz
    • Landesregierung Tirol, Landhaus, Maria-Theresien-Strasse 43, A-6020 Innsbruck
    • Landesregierung Vorarlberg, Landhaus, A-6900 Bregenz
    • Landesregierung Wien, Rathaus, A-1082 Wien

    3. The following organisations play a part in elaborating and putting into force of these standards:
    • Government of the state
    • Government of the federal sate / provincial government
    • Insurance companies
    • Fire service associations
    • Institutes for fire prevention
    • Institute for norms

    4. Fire safety standards are also defined besides the regulatory work by:

    Österreichischer Bundesfeuerwehrverband
    Lenaugasse 17
    A-1080 Wien
    Tel.: 02224023348
    Fax.: 0222 4086822

    Zentralstelle für Brandverhütung
    Siebenbrunnengasse 21
    A-1050 Wien
    Tel.: 0222 552502-0
    Fax.: 0222 552502-43

    Inforcement and supervision

    5. The following organisations are responsible for inforcement and supervision of the legal requirements for fire prevention and fire extinction
    • Austrian Government
    • Government of the federal state
    • Local authority
    • Fireservice
    • Building Authority

    6. There are specific requirements for:
    • High Rise buildings
    • Chemical industry
    • Airports
    7. There are special regulations for:
    • Smoke detectors in apartements
    • Fire alarms
    • Sprinklers in industral facilities
    • combustible piece of furniture and wall coverings
    8. The responsible fire authorities have the possibility to carry out inspections of buildings in the context of the prevention to develop emergency plans.

    9. In case owners or residents do not follow the fire safety regulations the responsible authorities can inforce them by:
    • Denouncement
    • Fines
    • Closing of premises
    10. There are the following state organizations, which checks standards for building material and protection facilities or elaborate standards which arent subject to the valid fire protection regulations

    Osterreichischer Bundesfeuerwehrverband
    Prüfstelle für Brandschutztechnik
    Lenaugasse 17
    A-1080 Wien
    Tel.: 02224023348
    Fax.: 0222 4086822

    Zentralstelle für Brandverhütung
    Siebenbrunnengasse 21,
    A-1050 Wien
    Tel.: 0222 552502-0
    Fax.: 0222 552502-43

    Institut für Brandschutztechnik und Sicherheitsforschung GesmbH (IBS)
    Petzoldstrasse 45
    A-4020 Linz
    Tel.: 073276170
    Fax.: 0732 7617-29

    11. There are special training programs for fire service executives for special fire protection measures.

    12. The following special measures are carried out by members of the fire service to ensure fire safety in buildings:
    • Check of plans
    • Inspection of the occupancy

Federation of the European Union Fire Officers Associations