Become an on-call firefighter

Ready to take on the challenge? We can’t wait to have you in our crew.

But first, you’ll want to know what’s involved.

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Who we’re looking for

You don’t need to have any previous experience firefighting or be a weightlifting champion. Just the passion to protect and help your community, with a good level of fitness.

We’ll ignite your spark of interest and train you to become a fully-fledged firefighter.

Essential criteria

You must:

  • live or work no more than five minutes from your nearest station
  • be at least 18-years-old at the start of employment, but you can apply before then. There is no maximum age limit for applications
  • have no unspent criminal convictions at the time you start employment. Unspent criminal convictions at the time of application can be discussed at the first contact meeting
  • have the right to work in the UK
  • be able to drive at the start of employment. You can apply before you have a licence
  • have good eyesight so you can carry out your role safely. If you’re unsure that you meet the visual standards, you can book an appointment with your optician, using this visual standards checklist. As part of the application process, you’ll do a LogMAR test which assesses visual performance in low contrast conditions
  • have a good level of strength and fitness. Find out more about the fitness requirements
  • have a good grasp of maths and English. You do not need any formal qualifications to apply but you will be tested on this during the application process. 

Terms of work

Probation

The legal probation period is 6 months, but the time it takes to become a fully competent firefighter can vary from station to station and is also dependent on ability. Typically it can take up to two years to become a competent firefighter.

Salary and working pattern

Call-outs vary across stations. Some stations respond to over 800 a year, others less than 50.

On average, on-call firefighters are paged two-three times a week for a couple of hours at a time, during the day, evenings and weekends. 

Most of our on-call firefighters are now on ‘Pay for Availability’. Until this is rolled out across the whole Service, the way you are paid and your contracted hours will depend on the station you join.

Read more about on-call firefighter pay

Training and development

Each station has a drill night on a specified evening each week which lasts for approximately two hours. You will attend your station on their drill night for induction training. This will give you the opportunity to get to know the crew and procedures.

Following your induction, you will attend firefighting training either at Severn Park Fire and Rescue Training Centre in Avonmouth, Bristol, or the Academy Training Centre in Plympton. Training starts with your initial core skills course. After your skills course, you’ll be able to ride in appliances, shadowing the team only. You’ll then complete the following training courses:

  • Breathing Apparatus (BA) Week 1 (five days)
  • Breathing Apparatus Week 2 (five days)
  • Road traffic collisions (three days)

Once you have successfully completed these courses, you'll be debriefed by your local manager and move to the development phase. You'll be given your pager and able to respond to incidents in a limited capacity. Find out more about our training courses.

You'll be expected to take part in regular training so that you can safely and efficiently carry out all your work and operate equipment, and you'll be paid for attendance at any training courses.

There are plenty of opportunities to progress in the Service. Many of our firefighters choose to serve the community throughout their time in the Service, which is great. But there are many opportunities for promotion once you’re fully skilled, with different roles and ranks right up to Chief Fire Officer.

Take a look at our stories of how our staff have moved up the ranks or tried their hand at different roles in the Service.

Benefits

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Pension scheme

You’ll be able to join the Firefighters Pension Scheme, and as a member you’ll also benefit from a generous employer contribution. For more information visit the West Yorkshire Pension Scheme website.

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Holiday

The annual leave allowance is a generous 28 days per year, rising to 35 days after five years of service.

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Family leave

We’re committed to making sure that our staff have the ability to balance their career with their role as a parent or carer too. You can read more about family leave

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Someone to talk to

Life has its challenges, but with us you’ll never have to face them alone.  Everyone in the organisation has free access to counselling, and support is also available for family members too. We also have trained staff supporters and mental health first aiders who are there whenever you need someone to talk to. As members of the Service, you and your family can access physical, emotional and social support through The Fire Fighters Charity whether you’re currently serving or retired. Find out more on the Fire Fighters Charity website.

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Physiotherapy

Every member of staff can have sessions with a physiotherapist for free, helping you maintain your physical health.

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Free gym access

With free on-site gyms and gym equipment at our stations, it’s even easier for you to stay fit and healthy.

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Fitness coaching

From dietary plans to exercise advice, we’ll support you to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle with support from our fitness team.

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Eye care

You’ll get a voucher towards bi-annual eye tests and a new pair of glasses.

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Free parking

There is free parking for staff at our fire stations.

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Discounts

You’ll be able to access the Blue Light Card scheme, which gives members of emergency services discounts online and on the high street. We’ve also partnered with lots of local organisations who will give you access to discounts and freebies too.

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Affordable healthcare

We’ve teamed up with award-winning healthcare provider, Benenden Health, a mutual not-for-profit society, to give our staff access to a wide range of healthcare services (such as round-the-clock reassurance from a GP). All members pay the same low monthly fee regardless of age and any pre-existing medical conditions.

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Sports and social

From martial arts to mountaineering, there are lots of staff-run activity groups you can sign up to, offering a space to socialise and boost your fitness in a fun way! 

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Progression

We'll help you reach your goals. Whatever your career ambitions, there are lots of opportunities to progress in the Service, and we have a dedicated training academy too.

FAQs

Is there a minimum height requirement to become a firefighter?

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There is no minimum height requirement to become a firefighter.

Are there any restrictions on where I can live?

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There is no restriction on your home location to become a wholetime firefighter, but on-call recruits must live a maximum of five minutes from their nearest station.

 

Can I apply if I have a disability?

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Yes! Although being a firefighter requires a good standard of fitness and practical ability, we’ll consider everyone on an individual basis and support you to reach your full potential.

We are a Disability Confident Employer. We are fully committed to:

  • Ensuring our recruitment process is inclusive, fair and accessible,
  • Communicating and promoting our vacancies,
  • Anticipating and providing reasonable adjustments, as required.

At the application stage, we will ask you to disclose if you have a disability and outline any special requirements you would like to request during the process. Reasonable adjustments will be considered.

The Service is unable to assess your individual health until the medical stage and therefore would not be in a position to confirm your suitability until this point.

Find out more about how we support people with disabilities.

I have dyslexia, what support is in place?

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We have a dedicated support group for people with dyslexia, and will support you during your application process and throughout your time in the Service. Find out more about how we support people with dyslexia.

Can I apply to be a firefighter if I’m a woman?

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We actively encourage women to join the service! Find out more about how we support women in the Service

I have been a fire cadet, will this help me in the application process?

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Absolutely! All the skills you learn as a fire cadet will give you a flavour of being a firefighter, as well as lots of essential skills like teamwork and leadership.

What’s the competition like to become a firefighter?

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Becoming a firefighter is a very desirable job, and we normally receive a high number of applications for wholetime positions. But it could be you, so don't let this put you off from applying!

How safe is being a firefighter?

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You may feel worried about your safety in the Service, which is completely understandable. We care deeply about the safety of our firefighters and will not put them at unnecessary risk. We work incredibly hard to make sure everyone has the knowledge and expertise to keep themselves and others safe.

Can firefighters have beards?

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Firefighters must make sure their facial hair is maintained so that it doesn't get in the way of any PPE.

I have tattoos and body piercings, will this affect my suitability for the role?

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Tattoos are acceptable provided they could not be deemed as offensive. Bear in mind that what is and is not offensive can be subjective. During the selection process and if you are subsequently employed by us, you will be asked to ensure the tattoo is covered if it is deemed offensive or gives an image contrary to the Service values. Tattoos are unacceptable if they are rude, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic or violent.

Piercings will not affect your suitability for the role, as long as you are prepared to remove them before commencing operational duty for health and safety reasons. The use of tongue studs is prohibited due their potential to break, become dislodged and become a catch hazard in the windpipe or gullet.

I have asthma, will that prevent me from becoming a firefighter?

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Asthma does not necessarily prevent you from becoming a firefighter, however, firefighters are exposed to smoke and other toxicants as part of their job, which are irritating to the lungs and upper respiratory tract and can exacerbate the symptoms of wheezing in firefighters with asthma. Your condition will be assessed at the medical stage, after which a decision will be made as to your suitability for the role.

Do you accept transfers from other UK Fire and Rescue Services?

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We do not currently accept transfer requests from other Services. If you are currently an on-call firefighter for another Service and would like to work for us, you will need to apply through this process.