“Help! Can I be a firefighter if…”

Common Applicant Myths Debunked!

What could stop someone from applying for a Firefighter job is a question we get asked a lot at FRS Development. There’s so much information (and misinformation!) out there it can be difficult to know what’s wrong and what’s right!

We’ve found that there are four main reasons why most people think they can’t apply – and we’re going to debunk the myths behind these ideas!


So many people write to us thinking that they’re too old to apply to be a Firefighter! But this really isn’t the case!

You have to be a minimum of 18 to apply – and some FRSs will accept applications from those who are almost 18, as long as they will turn 18 before beginning their training (remember that the application and training process can take 6 months or more to complete depending on the FRS you apply to).

However there is NO upper age limit – as long as you are fit and healthy enough for duty and to pass the medical and physical tests, and fulfil the other firefighter requirements requirements, you’re absolutely fine to apply.

Many FRSs value the life and work experience, and the maturity and responsibility that slightly older applicants have.

Weight and Height

You don’t have to have abs of steel to become a firefighter!
There isn’t a strict weight limit for – again what’s important is that you’re firefighter fit, and have good levels of cardiovascular fitness and strength.

The same goes for height – there are no restrictions as long as you are physically able to fulfil your duties – this is the case for applicants of any gender.


You don’t always need to have formal, paper qualifications (or previous experience!) to apply to be a Firefighter.

Most FRSs will state on the job description that they expect you to have been educated to GCSE level or equivalent, with passes in English and Maths. However, your work and life experience, and your characteristics and personality are equally as important.

You will need to have a good enough level of maths and english skills to pass the psychometric tests, and if you are a non-native English language speaker you may have to complete spoken and written english tests to prove that you have a good level of fluency.

Many people email us asking if they need a degree in a related subject. The answer is no – if you don’t have it takes to be a good firefighter then having the qualification won’t make a difference.


You can wear glasses and become a Firefighter!
This is a question we get asked a lot. Contact lenses are not usually allowed. However your uncorrected eyesight does have to meet certain standards, including requirements for colour vision. If you have had laser surgery, you have to wait for at least a year before you can apply.

Your eyesight needs to be of the following standard:

  • Uncorrected visual acuity should be at least 6/18 or better in the best eye and 6/24 or better in the worst eye
  • Corrected acuity should be a minimum of 6/7.5 in the best eye, with the worse eye at least 6/12
  • The ability to read N6 at 30cm (under 25 years) or N12 at 30cm (25 years and over) unaided
  • Normal visual fields to confrontation in both eyes
  • Minor colour vision defects may be acceptable subject to the results of specialist testing. The Ishihara screening test (a colour perception test for red-green colour deficiencies) is used. The result and further steps will be discussed at the medical to determine type and severity of the colour vision defect. Further specialist testing may be required

Other eye disorders will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the FRS you are applying to.

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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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