Applying to be a firefighter later in life – your biggest worries

When considering a career move into firefighting, perhaps after years in a completely different employment sector, there can be a lot of concerns running through your head!

Below we have addressed some of the most commonly asked questions in relation to this, which may hopefully set your mind at ease a little.

What will the recruiters look for in my past experiences?

The most important characteristics the FRS you are applying to will consider are your communication skills, honesty and integrity, your resilience and your ability to adapt to a variety of situations.

A positive attitude to diversity is also important, as you will be working closely with a multicultural community and be expected to treat people with the highest level of dignity and respect. In addition good team working and risk awareness skills are highly regarded.

What are the health and
fitness requirements?
two runners

You will have to undertake fitness and medical tests during the application process. However, a good level of health and fitness is crucial. The role is a very physical one, and involves managing heavy and awkward equipment. You will also be expected to cope with working in hostile environments with heat, humidity and restricted oxygen.

The level of fitness required to pass the tests is attainable by the majority of applicants, and will have benefits to you that reach beyond the workplace too.

If you have any concerns about pre-existing medical conditions we would encourage you to contact your chosen FRS and speak with their Occupational Health Unit for further guidance.

Will I cope with the working hours?

The role of a firefighter brings with it the potential for working long and unsociable hours, and covering holiday periods such as Christmas. You may also be asked at short notice to fill in to cover sickness or emergencies.

Many applicants will already be familiar with this type of shift work from previous employment – more and more businesses in the UK are extending their opening hours. However, if this would potentially be an issue for you then perhaps a rethink over this career choice is needed.

Will I cope with the testing and training?

The psychometric/ ability tests can seem daunting, especially if you have never done this type of testing before. But as with any other part of the application, preparation and practice is the best way forward.

Our firefighter Ability Tests eBook can really help you out with this stage. With over 300 example questions and answers it will give you a clearer idea of what to expect at this stage, and how best to approach it.

There is a lot to cover in the pre-employment training, but remember that all of your fellow candidates will be in exactly the same position as you are. A large part of the training will be ‘hands on’ and you can also expect a variety of group exercises that have more to do with your character and problem solving skills than your technical knowledge of the Fire Service.

Final thoughts…

In short, the only way you can truly know if the role of a firefighter is for you is by taking that first step and applying. If this is a career you feel appeals to you, then you really have nothing to lose. You may find that you breeze through the training and find yourself on a new, exciting and rewarding career path.

We’re here to help you through every step of the process. If you have any questions, big or small about any aspect of becoming a firefighter, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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FRS Team

Our team of experts have the many years of Fire Service experience and are up to date with the latest selection news.

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