Operational roles


A firefighter’s role is diverse. The emergencies they attend are varied, including road traffic collisions, water and rope rescues and chemical spillages.

Thankfully, the number of incidents they attend is decreasing thanks to our prevention and education work. Our firefighters spend a lot of their time in the community delivering fire prevention advice and other safety messages.

They visit people and help them to avoid fires in the home and to plan what to do if one occurs. This involves carrying out home safety checks and fitting smoke alarms.

They also deliver presentations and talks to schoolchildren, community and voluntary groups to educate and promote fire safety.

Treating people with dignity and respect is at the heart of what we do. Our communities are diverse and we work hard to meet their needs through our services.

Our firefighters must be able to communicate effectively with all individuals, religious groups and people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.

Whole time firefighters

Wholetime firefighters work full-time and for the majority of firefighters this will be their primary occupation. They are required to work days, nights, evenings, weekends and public holidays on one of two duty systems.

On-call firefighters

On-call firefighters are essential to Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.  They provide a part time service, responding to fire and emergency calls in the same way as whole time firefighters, using the same appliances and equipment.

We currently operate an on call service at Chopwell Community Fire Station. As it serves an area where the risk to residents and businesses is relatively low, it’s impractical to have a whole time fire station staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in the area.

On-call firefighters work part-time.  The role is open to those who live and/or work within 5 minutes of Chopwell station.

With the exception of training sessions and pre-arranged duties, on-call firefighters only attend their fire station when they receive an emergency call. These firefighters often have other occupations but commit to being on-call at certain times when they are able to get to their fire station within 5 minutes.

As an on-call firefighter, you will be asked to give your availability of hours you would be prepared to be on call. Flexibility is key and you will need to be either self-employed or have an employer who is supportive of your availability.

As with our whole time firefighters, your on-call fee begins on a scale when you begin the role as a trainee until you become fully competent following our comprehensive training and development programme.

The hourly rate applies when you are called out and includes a disturbance fee. Your uniform and protective equipment will be provided.

Application process

The selection process for firefighters is robust and can involve:

  • a series of online tests including psychometric testing, mathematical, verbal reasoning
  • mechanical ability tests
  • role related tests
  • fitness and medical assessments
  • a panel interview

Preparing to apply

Preparing to apply

Watch this video to help you prepare for the role related tests:

We host taster sessions as part of our recruitment campaigns where you can speak to firefighters about their role and sample some of the role related tests.  There are also opportunities to attend a station open day.

Candidates who have attended either an open day or a taster session often perform better during their interviews.


As the role is physically demanding, it’s important to improve and maintain levels of fitness.  The role related tests are designed to assess strength, cardiovascular and flexibility.

We recommend a range of activities to improve your fitness:

Cardiovascular Strength Flexibility
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Team sports
  • Rowing
  • Skipping
  • Group exercise classes
  • Climbing
  • Squat
  • Shoulder press
  • Step up
  • Press up
  • Bent over row
  • Load carriage lunge
  • Trunk rotation
  • Dead lift
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Pilates




Operational roles

We offer other operational roles including:

  • Canine Handler
  • Fire Control Centre
  • Operational Learning and Development

Check for current vacancies.