Firefighter Taster Days…. Why they are no longer optional

Taster Days – originally a fun and helpful way to help people decide if firefighting is the route for them, these events are now becoming a fixture in the FRS recruitment process.

 

Changes to the recruitment process

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service have a policy stating that candidates will only be eligible for recruitment after attending a Taster Day.

An online application form is no longer the first step in the recruitment process for GMFRS, and other Fire Services may well follow in their footsteps.

Check your emails

For FRS choosing this strategy, the first stage of recruitment now for interested candidates will be to register your interest online for a Taster Day. Details will be emailed when an event is scheduled and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

If you book a place on a Taster Day and can’t attend for some reason, communication is vital. If you fail to turn up then you’ll be removed from the database and will be back to square one.

Even if you’ve attended a Taster Day in the past, if a year or more has passed since then, you’ll be required to apply for a place at another one.

After participating in a Taster Day, you’ll be granted eligibility to apply for a firefighter role. Emails will be sent out when recruitment opens, with links to the application form.

What actually happens at a Taster Day?

Taster Days are designed to introduce potential candidates to the role requirements and realities of life as a firefighter.

After an introduction you may be required to take some simple Maths and English tests – these are just examples; you won’t actually be formally assessed at a Taster Day.

Perhaps most importantly, you’ll get to have a go at the physical fitness tests. These include the bleep test, ladder climb, dummy drag, BA crawl, equipment assembly and ladder carry. You’ll get the chance to try on Personal Protective Equipment to carry out some of the exercises.

There will also be a Q&A session with current Crew members, giving insight into the job and day-to-day requirements.

Do you have what it takes?

Taster Days give you the opportunity to carry out tasks that would be expected of you as a firefighter. This experience is invaluable, especially for highlighting any potential problems. Claustrophobia or a fear of heights would be automatic de-selectors under the National Firefighter Selection Tests regulations.

The physical ability to carry out these tests is absolutely essential. A Taster Day will give you a realistic idea of whether or not you have the strength and stamina required to move forward in the recruitment process.

If your personal fitness isn’t quite where it should be, you’ll leave the event with tips on how to improve and measure your fitness at home or at the gym, so don’t feel discouraged.

Are there disadvantages to mandatory Taster Days?

An obvious drawback is the time commitment; having to register interest, sign up for a Taster Day and then still wait for recruitment to open can make the process feel very long.

It could also be tricky if you have other commitments such as work or childcare that coincide with when a Taster Day is scheduled. A specific time investment is required of you.

What are the positives?

Obviously, one major benefit is that candidates are able to get a feel of whether a career in firefighting is really for them.

Attending a Taster Day can provide you with a lot of extra knowledge and experience that will come in handy during the later stages of application. It’s also useful to hear from current Crew and a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

It can be a real confidence boost to have already gone through some of the tests and procedures. Plus, many Taster Days often explain the online ability and behavioural tests that form part of the application process.

Compulsory Taster Days also make sure that only those who are seriously interested in becoming firefighters make it through to the application form. This reduces the number of applications, an advantage for both you as an applicant and the Fire Service you apply to.

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