So, you want to be a firefighter?

A top 10 guide to achieving your goal

“There are many people out there who have decided that they wish to become a firefighter, so many so that recruitment into the role is as competitive as ever. How do you stand out from the crowd and give yourself the greatest chance of success? Our top 10 guide is sure to help!”

Number 1

Understand the role.

Ensure you fully understand all aspects of the role of a firefighter. Do you know what percentage of a firefighter’s time is actually spent responding to incidents? How do they spend the rest of their time?


Number 2

Weigh up the pro’s/con’s.

Are you sure, having carried out step one that this is truly a role you wish to apply for? Are you willing to deal with fatalities? Are you willing to work Christmas, New Year, your birthday, anniversary, best friend’s wedding? Are you at times willing to be pushed to both your physical and psychological limits? Are you happy working to a retirement age of 60?


Number 3

Research Fire and Rescue Services.

The size, capability and scope of a FRS depends on the risks within their area. Your local FRS may respond to fewer emergencies a year than a neighbouring FRS. What is important to you, a shorter commute and better home/work life balance or a longer commute with the potential to respond to more emergencies during your working career?


Number 4

Research duty systems.

Duty Systems are essentially the ‘shifts’ a firefighter will work. In the UK there are many types of duty system worked such as the retained duty system, the day crewing duty system and the whole time duty system. Which system/s do your prospective employer operate, what are their benefits and disadvantages and which most appeal to you?


Number 5

Be fit.

Fitness is an absolute cornerstone of the role and you will be required to start your training with a strong level of fitness, this includes a high level of cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility.


Number 6

Research the selection process.

Although there are national occupational standards for the role of a firefighter, individual Fire and Rescue Services are able to decide upon their own selection process. What does your chosen FRS ask of its’ applicants?


Number 7

Prepare for interview.

All FRS’s will ask their candidates to undertake a formal interview. Although the format and questioning may vary from one service to another there are a number of core interview skills and techniques you can prepare for.


Number 8

Prepare for the remaining aspects of selection.

Steps 5 & 6 should stand you in good stead but don’t be caught out. Remember that just because you have applied for one FRS before that doesn’t mean a different FRS will follow the same process.


Number 9

Be unique.

Remember, you need to be one step ahead of your fellow applicants. What sets you apart, what makes you more deserving of the role that other applicants?


Number 10

Be Resilient.

If at first you are unsuccessful, try and try again. Heck, that might even make a great interview example!

“This list is of course only a guide, we are all unique with our own strengths and weaknesses but the key to succeeding in your ambition to become a firefighter is to be prepared.”

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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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