How To Become A Firefighter
Joining the fire brigade can be the start of an exciting and rewarding career. It takes a certain kind of person to become a firefighter – brave, courageous, dedicated, and physically fit. Do you fit the bill?
If so, then good news – we’ve put together this brief guide on applying to become a firefighter and how you can increase your chances of success.
The basic requirements of becoming a firefighter
In the UK, the fire brigade is broken up into different regions, for instance the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, or the London Fire Brigade. Most fire brigades in the UK insist on the same basic requirements for new recruits, which include:
- Minimum age of 17 ½ years old – Candidates must meet this lower age limit at the time of application. There is no maximum age limit.
- No unspent convictions on criminal record – Candidates must not have any unspent criminal convictions on their record. This rule applies to all emergency service roles. If you are unsure about the status of your criminal record you can apply online for a basic DBS check.
- Prepared to obtain an LGV driving license – Candidates are expected to train towards and sit an LGV test within three years of becoming a firefighter in order to drive the fire engines when needed.
- Prepared to maintain a clean shaven face – Facial hair can interfere with breathing apparatus and is too risky for firefighters. Therefore you will be expected to be clean shaven when you are on duty.
- Prepared to undergo physical and mental testing – Being a firefighter is a tough, physical job and can be stressful at times. Candidates will be assessed physically and psychologically, not only during the interview stage, but at frequent intervals during employment.
As long as you meet the basic requirements set out above you are eligible to apply to become a firefighter. Local fire brigades have recruitment periods at different times, so keep an eye on the website of the brigade you wish to join and apply as soon as recruitment commences.
Other important firefighter qualities
As well as meeting the basic requirements mentioned above, there are certain qualities and character traits that are essential to the role. If you get as far as an interview, the interviewer will be looking for the following qualities and skills:
- Leadership qualities – All firefighters are expected to take the lead in an emergency situation and take the initiative if guidance from a senior firefighter is not available.
- Conscientious attitude – Firefighters put in long shifts and are expected to carry out many duties, some of which may be dirty or tedious. Candidates should show a willingness to pitch in and take part in all fire brigade activities.
- Team-working abilities – When you join the fire brigade, you become part of a team that depend on each other, not only to carry out work tasks successfully but also to look out for each other’s welfare and lives. For that reason, fire brigades look for people that function well as part of a team.
- Organisational skills – Candidates are expected to manage their own time to a certain degree, to be self-motivated, and remain organised even in stressful situations.
- Resilience – Being a firefighter can be a challenging job, so fire brigades are keen to find candidates with the resilience to stand up to the pressures.
Make sure you stand out in your application by highlighting relevant times in your life that you have shown the above skills.
Get a DBS check online today
To make sure that your application doesn’t fall down at the first hurdle and a caution or conviction that you didn’t mention shows up on your criminal record, we recommend that you get a DBS check done online.
The online process of applying for a DBS check is very straightforward, and we have people on-hand to help you through your application. You can only apply for a Basic DBS check as an individual, but this is enough to reveal any major unspent conviction, which are the most likely to get your fire brigade application disqualified.
Many people opt to get a basic DBS check done online before applying to save yourself the time and hassle of applying to be a trainee firefighter, only to be disqualified. You can get the results of an online DBS check as quickly as 48 hours after applying. So, if your local fire brigade is recruiting now and you want to apply, get a basic DBS check done now by applying here.
To find out more about applying for a DBS check online, get in touch with one of our resident experts today.