Apply to be an on-call firefighter

How to apply

As an on-call firefighter, you will respond to emergencies within your local area.

The role is exciting, challenging and rewarding. You will learn new skills, such as first aid, trauma training and fire safety.

Before you apply, you must:

Apply to be an on-call firefighter

The recruitment process

Stage 1

Once you apply, we will contact you to arrange an informal discussion. We will explain more about the role and the commitment required. You will be able to ask us questions too.

Stage 2

You are required to attend an awareness session.

Awareness sessions are a mandatory part of the process for you to find out if the role of an On-Call Firefighter is really for you.

During the half day session you’ll get an overview of the role, hear from on-call firefighters and have an opportunity to try out some of the assessments with our instructors.

Stage 3

You will be asked to complete a one-hour test in maths and English. Your results are valid for 12 months. If unsuccessful, you will be able to retake it.

We have a practice booklet you can try before sitting the test.

If you are unsuccessful on your second attempt, your application will be withdrawn. You will be able to reapply after 12 months.

You also undertake job-related test (JRT) exercises.

The tests will assess your fitness, strength, stamina, co-ordination and dexterity. All the tests are relevant to the role of a firefighter, such as:

  • ladder carry and climb
  • casualty evacuation
  • equipment carry and assembly
  • enclosed spaces
  • simulated hose running

You will also undertake a dictation test. This 10 minute test will assess your ability to listen and accurately record a message from the incident ground by writing the message exactly as it is heard.

It will be played twice. You are asked to listen to the message first, then write the message as you hear it the second time.

Stage 4

If you successfully complete the physical tests, you must attend a one-hour interview. This will focus on your knowledge and understanding of the role.

Stage 5

You must complete a medical assessment with our occupational health provider.

Along with a general exam, you will undergo the following tests:

  • vision (including colour)
  • hearing
  • lung function
  • grip strength
  • co-ordination and flexibility test
  • urine test

Stage 6

You must undergo a Police Act Disclosure check (DBS).

Stage 7

If all the above is successful, you will be offered a place on the next available 32-day training course.

Stage 8

Upon successful completion of the training course, you will be formally offered a role as an on-call firefighter. 

The above process can take up to three months to complete (assuming all assessments/checks are successfully completed first time).

Pay and benefits

There are three levels of pay for on-call firefighters:

  • trainee
  • development
  • competent

Your level depends upon your training, knowledge and experience.

The current on-call firefighter pay includes:

  • a retainer fee (between £2,383 and £3,177 per annum)
  • an hourly rate (between £10.88 and £14.51)
  • a disturbance allowance (£4.18 per hour for each call-out)

As an on-call firefighter, you will get the same benefits as other employees. This includes:

  • a pension scheme
  • employee discounts
  • flexible working practices
  • excellent training
  • paid holidays
  • tax-saving schemes, such as childcare vouchers

Advice for employers

We ask our on-call staff to ensure that their primary employers are a priority.

On-call firefighters must attend the fire station within five minutes of receiving a call. We appreciate the disruption that this can have on your business.

We aim to ensure that everyone is fully aware of their commitment. We will work with business owners to find the best approach to any staffing concerns.

Benefits to you as an employer

On-call firefighters receive the same training opportunities as their wholetime colleagues.

This means they may be able to help you with:

  • trauma training
  • health and safety training
  • driving large goods vehicles
  • emergency situations

Supporting your staff and the community can enhance the reputation of your business too.