Apply to be a firefighter

Are you passionate about helping people? A career as a firefighter is challenging, but also hugely rewarding.

Who we’re looking for

To apply to become a firefighter, you must be at least 17 years and 6 months old. Full training is provided and we welcome applications from everyone, regardless of gender, religion or ethnicity.

We need people who are resilient, confident and physically fit, as well as good communicators and team workers. Because firefighters work closely with all of our local communities, they must also be compassionate and committed to diversity.

Wholetime Firefighter Guidance for Applicants

We have created a Wholetime Firefighter Applicant Guidance Document to help you through the recruitment process.  This will be available once we commence our next recruitment campaign

1. Applications

You will need to complete an application form and include a supporting statement (1,000 words) that tells us why you are suited to the role and what skills, qualities and experience you can offer.

You are invited to apply if you have a good level of fitness (see section 3) and meet the following criteria:

• you must be aged 18 years or over on 1 April 2021
• you must have the right to work in the UK
• you must hold or be willing to work towards a full UK driving licence

A ‘Standard’ Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is a requirement for the role.

An ability to confidently swim at least 25 metres is desirable.


2. Online selection tests

There are 5 online tests:

  • Behaviour Style Questionnaire (BSQ) – designed to identify your preferred behaviours and values in a working environment.
  • Situational Judgement Test (SJT) – measures your judgement and decision -making skills in situations that are typical in the fire and rescue service.
  • Numerical Test – you will be required to calculate numerical equations that are equivalent to GCSE (level 3 or grade c) maths.
  • Verbal Reasoning Test – you will be required to answer questions on short passages of information.
  • Mechanical Test – you will be required to apply cognitive reasoning to mechanical, physical and practical concepts in order to solve problems.

Take a look at some more information and examples of the tests:


3. Bleep test

As a minimum, you need to demonstrate that you can meet Level 8 shuttle 8 on the 20m bleep test. If you can run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes then you are likely to meet this standard.

Minimum fitness requirements

A firefighter’s role is very physically demanding. As a guide, you are likely to have the minimum level of cardiorespiratory fitness required if you can:

  • run 1.5 miles (2.4km) continuously in 12 minutes or less
  • run on a treadmill at 7.5mph (12km/h) for 12 minutes
  • perform the multi-stage shuttle run test (bleep test) to at least level 8, shuttle 8

You are likely to have the minimum physical strength and muscular endurance if you can shoulder press 25kg once in an overhead, upright seated position.

Preparatory fitness programme

Read the FireFit Steering Group’s guidance on physical training preparation for national firefighter selection tests to help you develop an all-round fitness routine.


4. Role-related tests

This a series of practical assessments that test the skills needed to become a firefighter. This video shows a few examples:


5. Competency-based interview

This is our chance to get to know more about you and for you to tell us how you meet the requirements for the role.

You will be asked competency-based questions to explore how you have used specific skills in your previous roles and your approach to problems, tasks and challenges.


6. Occupational health medical and fitness test

You will need to take a full medical assessment, carried out by our occupational health provider.

You will be asked to complete a questionnaire about your medical history and the following tests:

  • Hearing
  • Lung function
  • Eyes
  • Grip strength
  • Blood pressure
  • General tests based on your completed medical questionnaire
  • Drug and alcohol


7. Pre-employment checks

Any offers of employment are subject to satisfactory pre-employment checks. For example, we will need to confirm:

  • your identity
  • your right to work in the UK
  • whether you have any criminal convictions

You will also need to provide suitable references covering at least 3 continuous years.

If you are successful throughout the selection process, your new career will begin with an intensive 14 week training course at our HQ in Washington.