Whole-time Firefighter - Frequently Asked Questions
What is the minimum and maximum age for joining to become a firefighter? How tall do I need to be to become a firefighter?
The minimum age before you can join the fire service is 18 years old at the start of the training course. There is no maximum age.
There is no minimum or maximum height within the Fire and Rescue Service.
Do I need a driving licence?
Your driving licence must show:
- you can drive category B cars
- you can drive manual vehicles
- your current postal address.
We need to know:
- you can get to our fire stations (and travel between them) with your equipment
- you can drive our manual fire service vehicles
- you live in one of our eligible postcodes.
If the address on your licence is out of date, get a replacement before your selection day or you may be withdrawn from the recruitment process. Replacements can take over a week.
How long does the recruitment process take?
The recruitment process can take many months. It could take a year from application to actually commencing employment, depending on the timing of vacancies.
More details of selection days and course dates will be made available when the recruitment process opens.
What is the shift pattern? What salary can I expect to receive as a firefighter?
The shift pattern consists of 2 days followed by 2 nights and then four days off.
Day shift 0900 - 1800
Night shift 1800 - 0900
A trainee firefighter will earn a salary of £23,366.
Development pay £24,339
Competent pay £31,144
I have a criminal record. Can I still apply and join as a firefighter?
Having a criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from becoming a firefighter. You are required to declare any convictions for offences that are not spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This includes any offences dealt with by a court of law, HM Services disciplinary procedures and any driving offences.
Before an offer of employment is made a disclosure document from the Criminal Records Bureau may be obtained. If, at any stage, a conviction is highlighted that you have not declared, your application will be withdrawn from the recruitment process.
Do I have to be a British Citizen?
You can be of any nationality to apply, provided that you have the permanent right to remain without restriction in the UK. EU citizens are automatically eligible to apply.
You will be required to supply evidence of your right to work in the UK during the recruitment process.
Can I apply if I don't live in Gloucestershire?
The full time recruitment at this time stipulates that applicants must live within 50 mile radius of the Gloucestershire border.
Please see the attached map of the area we are currently accepting applications from.
Proof of address will be required at the time of application and post codes will also checked by a member of the team.
I have a disability; can I still become a firefighter?
Yes. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 has now been amended and the role of firefighter is no longer exempt from the Act. This means that anyone who considers themselves to have a disability can apply to join the fire service.
A disability is defined by the Act as: Anyone who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
You will be asked if you have a disability as part of the recruitment process and to give details of the type of adjustments you may require in order to take part in the selection process and to fulfil the role of a firefighter, should you be successful. Each case will be considered on an individual basis and if reasonable adjustments can be made to enable you to take part in the selection process and to fulfil the role of a firefighter, then your application will proceed.
I am dyslexic; can I receive support?
Dyslexia is classed as a disability and you will be asked if you have a disability as part of the recruitment process. Please make a member of the team aware as soon as possible so we can make reasonable adjustments for you during the recruitment process.
When you get to the timed written tests you will be asked if you suffer with dyslexia and you should answer "yes". You will then be asked to contact us directly so as we can discuss any reasonable adjustments, such as additional time to undertake the assessments. You will be required to provide evidence of your dyslexia.
I have a beard for religious reasons; will I have to shave it off in order to be a firefighter?
My faith requires me to allocate certain times of the day for prayer. Will this be accommodated?
Due to the nature of the role, there may be times when this is not possible. However, we actively support employees who wish to pray at work to balance their individual beliefs with operational needs. Fasting firefighters always ensure that both their colleagues and they remain safe by actively managing their energy and hydration levels where necessary.
Would I be able to keep my dreadlocks?
Yes. Dreadlocks (including braids, cornrows, plaits etc.) like any employee's hair, needs to be kept tidy and not interfere with your personal protection fire fighting uniform. These rules help keep fire fighters safe.
Are the recruitment standards different for men compared to women?
No. The assessments are the same for both genders.
Is it acceptable to have tattoos or piercing?
For health and safety reasons, all piercings must be removed before commencing operational duty.
Tattoos are acceptable providing they could not be deemed as offensive. Tattoos are unacceptable if they are rude, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic or violent.
Why is there a requirement to swim?
Water rescue is a specialist role which you may be asked to perform. The essential criteria requires you to be able to swim and be confident in water.
How fit do you have to be to become a firefighter?
You will need to be reasonably fit and maintain your fitness levels throughout your career as a firefighter. You will be required to undertake a fitness evaluation to determine your aerobic capacity is at least a VO2 max level of 42. You are also required to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
I have a medical condition which I think may exclude me. How do I find out?
There are many medical conditions that will exclude you from joining as a firefighter. We suggest that if you have any condition you are unsure about, the easiest way to get confirmation that it will exclude you is to contact us.
I wear glasses or have had laser eye surgery. Can I apply?
Yes. Firefighters require good vision in both eyes and part of the recruitment process will include an eye test. Our Occupational Health Team will determine whether your vision meets the standards to become a firefighter.
Refractive surgery in recruits and active FFs will be acceptable in the following circumstances:-
Surgery involving PRK, LASIK, LASEK.
The following information will need to be supplied at the applicants expense;
- Date of surgery (12 months post op minimum)
- Evidence all medication related to surgery has been stopped.
- Details of pre-op refractive error.
- A report of a slit lamp examination confirming recovery from the operation and that no loss of transparency over the central cornea.
- A confirmation that there is no keratectasia.
- Details of post-operative corneal thickness and any complications.
- Evidence of satisfactory visual performance using a low contrast log MAR chart.
Will being colour blind prevent me from becoming a firefighter?
You should have an appropriate level of colour perception. The recommended test procedure uses the Ishihara test as the initial screen, with two additional tests if the applicant fails the screening, to determine the severity and type of colour vision deficiency.
What qualifications do I need to become a firefighter?
You will be asked to undertake a metal agility test if you do not have GCSE Grade A* to Grade C (or 9 to 4) qualifications in English Language and Mathematics (or a recognised equivalent i.e. Basic/Key Skills Level 2, Adult Numeracy Level 2, Adult Literacy Level 2)
Can I choose which Station to work at?
You will be placed at Stations where there are vacancies. Firefighters may also be required to transfer and work at other stations in the County.
Can I have a second job?
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service has a policy on secondary employment. Employees cannot engage in this without first obtaining written approval.
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I am self-employed or I work for a family business how do I supply 2 references?
In circumstances such as this we may accept references from customers, your accountant or other suitable persons that will be certified with GCC HR Team prior to any job offer.
I live over the 50 mile radius, If I’m successful I will move to the area, can I apply?
The criteria is 50 miles from the Gloucestershire County Border, you can only apply if you meet this requirement and can prove your address with a utility bill and UK Driving Licence. We will not accept applications from those that will promise to move to the area.
Do transferees have to participate in the whole process with other candidates?
Yes, it is the same process for all applying, there is no transferee process at this time.
If I am a Competent Firefighter from another FRS do I have to start again on Development Pay?
No, we will ask for evidence from your FRS to prove your competence to start your employment with us on Competent Firefighter pay.
When will training start?
Approximately August but this will depend on your performance in the process and the Service’s requirements.