Have you got what it takes to become a Firefighter for Cumbria FRS?
Read our guide below so you can feel fully prepared before you begin your application.
The Application Process and Psychometric Tests
You will fill in the initial application form online, starting with basic questions about your age and eligibility to live and work in the UK.
Following this, you will be asked to complete a series of online assessments: the Behavioural Styles Questionnaire (BSQ), Situational Judgement Test (SJT) and ability tests. You must pass each stage in order to progress to the next test.
The BSQ and SJT are important tools the FRS use to assess your suitability as a firefighter. The questions are designed to find out whether you have the personal qualities and behavioural traits that match the values of Cumbria FRS. They are also used to ensure you have the appropriate communication and decision-making skills required to be a good firefighter.
These types of tests can seem daunting if this is your first application, or if you haven’t made it past this stage yet. Although you can’t ‘revise’ for these, you can find example questions in our workbooks. Getting a bit of practice in can help put your mind at rest when it comes to the real thing.
If you are successful at the initial application stage, you will then undertake a series of reasoning tests: numerical, mechanical and verbal.
You will have 18 minutes to complete 18 numerical questions. You will be expected to make calculations based on a range of mathematical information including graphs and charts. Using mental arithmetic regularly during your daily life will make this section much easier!
The mechanical reasoning test analyses your problem-solving ability, using diagrams to show your understanding of mechanical principles. You will answer 20 questions in 17 minutes.
For the verbal reasoning test, you will have to answer 20 comprehension questions in 15 minutes about a passage of text, demonstrating your interpretative skills.
You should allow around 3 hours to complete all sections of the online tests.
Fitness and Practical Tests
Being a firefighter requires a lot of physical strength. You’ll have to prove you have the stamina for it during the fitness and practical tests.
The first hurdle is the Multi Stage Fitness test (or the Bleep Test) – you’ll need to jog 20m at an increasing pace. Get in some practice ahead of time so you know what this feels like.
Once you’ve passed this stage, you’ll undergo a wide variety of fitness checks to test upper and lower body strength, co-ordination and agility.
If you make it through all those tests, you’ll be invited to an assessment centre in Penrith for an interview. You’ll be asked again about your answers to earlier questions, so be prepared to talk about your approach to topics such as diversity, teamwork and conscientiousness.
Remember that it’s important to state how you have been able to put these principles into action in the past. The interviewer wants to see that you would be a perfect fit for Cumbria FRS and this is your chance to demonstrate that you have the qualities they’re looking for.
You’ll also be measured for uniform and the Breathing Apparatus Facemask Fit test – it’s worth noting that if you have a beard, the mask might not fit!
Finally, you’ll be subject to a medical examination. Your blood pressure, hearing, grip strength and eyesight will be checked, and you’ll also have a lung function test and urine drug screen.
Upon receiving an offer of appointment, you’ll attend up to 9 weeks of training, based mainly in Carlisle.
If you’re thinking of applying, best of luck!
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