Fire Service

    If you are wondering how to become a Fire Fighter, below are tips and advice on beginning careers in the fire service and where these jobs could take you.

    The Job Description
    The traditional role of a FireFighter is to promote fire safety awareness and to rescue both people and property from blazes. In a recent change to the law the Fire Service has been given a wider range of principle duties and these include:
    • Attending road traffic accidents to help rescue any trapped casualties.
    • Helping in the event of floods.
    • Aiding in the clean up of chemical spillages.
    • Dealing with terrorist attacks and bomb threats.

    As a Fire Fighter it is also your duty to conduct presentations to the community and to schools to ensure that people are educated in fire safety. The inspection of buildings is also necessary to ensure that they meet fire safety regulations. Other duties around the Fire Station include, the maintenance of all equipment, from clothing to the Fire Engine. Regular training and fire drills are carried out as part of the daily routine. Other branches of the Fire Department are the British Airports Authority; this is the service that provides assistance at airports and the Defence Fire Service. This is the Military and other MOD Fire Services.

    Person Specification
    The role of a Fire fighter is very demanding, both physically and mentally so it is important that you have:
    • good inter-personal skills as working with the public is a main part of the job
    • a practical mind as the use of technical equipment will be involved
    • a very good level of physical fitness
    • the ability to think quick as there may be a rapid change in situation
    • good team skills, the ability to work as part of a team is a must for a Fire Fighter
    • the ability to control own emotions when under stress
    • the ability to recall events in order to write reports etc…

    How to become a Fire Fighter
    To train to become a firefighter you do not need any specific academic qualifications. However, there is a strict recruitment process that consists of a written test and interview. Physical and practical tests are conducted. You must pass a medical exam as well as an eye test. This includes normal/colour vision. No glasses or contact lenses are to be worn for this.

    It is important that you have a fairly good level of education as there are some brigades that may require some GCSEs. On occasions they may ask for certain grades and subjects. The minimum age in which to become a fire fighter is eighteen. For those under eighteen years it is possible to study for a BTEC Level three National Diploma in Public Services. This can be studied for at further education colleges. The idea of this course is to aid in the preparation for the pre-entry selection tests in order to become a Fire Fighter.

    The initial training takes twelve to sixteen weeks, in Northern Ireland, eighteen weeks. Following the initial training you will be posted at a Fire Station where you will become a Probationer for two years. During this time you will continue to learn by gaining experience from fellow FireFighters who are very experienced. During this two-year period your progress will be assessed continuously.

    Training and Development
    The training will cover the following in order for you to carry out the practical duties of a Fire Fighter: how to put out a fire and the course in which it takes, methods used to rescue people from fires and accidents using specialist equipment – from hoses to hydraulic apparatus, how to cope in smoke filled rooms/building and administering first aid. Once qualified, it is preferred that Fire Fighters then work towards S/NVQ Level three in Emergency Fire Services. Continued studying for S/NVQs in the following roles: Crew Manager, Watch Manager, Station Manager, Group Manager and Area Manager will aid in future promotion opportunities. There are some specialist qualifications available, these include: an LGV licence (Large Goods Vehicles) that will enable you to drive Fire Appliances.

    The Pay
    Whilst in training a Fire Fighter will earn £19,394 P/A, once qualified a Fire Officer can expect to earn between £20,202 and £25,850 P/A. Crew Manager between £27,163 and £28,320 P/A. Watch Manager between £29,073 and £32,048 P/A. Station Manager between £33,335 and £36,768 P/A. Group Manager between £38,114 and £42,560 P/A, and Area Manager between £44,793 and £49,440 P/A.


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