Frequently asked questions (firefighter recruitment)
What is the minimum age you can apply to become a firefighter?
You must be at least 18 years of age at the start of the training course.
What is the maximum age you can apply to become a firefighter?
There is no maximum age.
What skills do I need to be a firefighter?
To be a firefighter requires special skills and qualities. Not only do you need effective communication skills to deal with the public at safety events and in their homes, you also need to be able to work under pressure as part of a team at operational incidents.
The role of the Fire and Rescue Service has changed incredibly in the last few years as we now face many different challenges. For example, firefighters deal with environmental issues such as floods and storms and attending an increasing number of health related incidents. We therefore expect our firefighters to be even more adaptable than ever before.
What qualifications do I need to have?
You do not need to have any formal qualifications. However, during the on-line assessment process you will be asked to undertake a number of psychometric tests including literacy and numeracy. The standard of these tests have been devised to be within Grade A* – C GCSE level in Maths and English and potential candidates will need to be at this level in order to successfully complete them.
I'm disabled, can I still apply?
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is committed to fair recruitment across all communities and having a disability should not prevent you from applying. Further details are available here. If you are disabled and need to request reasonable adjustments through the process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you select candidates?
You first of all apply through our website and start the application process. You will then complete a set of online psychometric tests and, if you exceed the pass mark, you may then be invited to undertake the practical and physical tests.
When might I need to be available should I progress through the process?
You will only be required to attend on one day for each of the tests, ie a day for the Firefighter Selection Tests, a day for the interview process and a day for the medical.
In the first instance your attendance dates and times will be appointed by Humberside Fire and Rescue Service. There may be the opportunity to change these subject to availability.
Can I choose which station to work at?
Unfortunately no. Whilst we will endeavour to place all new employees at a station that does not cause any inconvenience in relation to travel arrangements etc., we must also take into account where the Service has vacancies. You must be prepared and expect to work at any station in the Humberside Service area.
What will I be paid as a firefighter?
Firefighters start on a salary of £22,237 during the 14 week initial training course. You will then be placed on the development rate of pay of £23,162 during your three year probationary period. Once you have been deemed as competent, your salary will increase to £29,638.
What are the hours of work?
On completion of your initial training, you will be allocated a station and watch (Red, White, Blue or Green). Each watch works a 48 hour week spread over an 8 day pattern consisting of 2 x 9 hour day shifts followed by 2 x 15 hour night shifts then 4 days off. Other crewing models are currently on trial and may be introduced at anytime in the future.
What if I wear glasses or contact lenses?
Wearing glasses or contact lenses does not preclude anyone from becoming a firefighter, although there is an eyesight test as part of the recruitment process:
You must have a minimum uncorrected binocular distance vision of 6/12 unaided with 6/24 in the worst eye
Have a minimum corrected binocular vision of 6/9 with 6/12 in the worst eye
The ability to read N6 at 30cm (under 25 years) or N12 at 30cm (25 years and over)
Normal visual fields to confrontation in both eyes
Candidates who have had surgical correction (e.g. laser correction) can be admitted after a period of 12 months providing they meet the above standards and have no evidence of other complications that would impair safe or effective working
Minor colour vision defects may be acceptable subject to the results of specialist testing.
What are the hearing standards for firefighters?
The hearing standards fall into three areas:
The sum of Low Frequency thresholds (0.5, 1 and 2 kHz) [60 dB Hearing Loss
The sum of High Frequency thresholds (3, 4 and 6 kHz) [80 dB Hearing Loss
The sum of the Speech Frequency thresholds (1, 2, 3 kHz) [60 dB Hearing Loss and (no value > 25 dB HL)
How long is the firefighter training course?
The training course is 14 weeks long.
Do I need to have a driving licence to apply?
Yes, a full UK driving licence is required.
I am currently serving as a firefighter at another fire and rescue service. Can I apply to transfer straight in?
Not at this time. However you are welcome to apply and complete the normal selection process.
I am currently serving as a Retained Duty System Firefighter in Humberside. Can I transfer into the wholetime service without going through the full application process?
No. However you are welcome to apply and complete the normal selection process.
How fit do I need to be?
You need a good level of fitness overall, in particular aerobic fitness. During the assessment process you will be required to achieve a VO2 max level of 42. This will be tested by means of a functional physical test using Fire Service equipment on the selection day. This will then be tested again on a gas analysis machine at your medical.
You can refer to the website for a training programme that will help you to achieve the level of fitness required. You will need good upper body strength in order to lift equipment that can weigh up to 25kg.
Are there any weight or height restrictions?
No, but you need to be physically fit and will be tested at both the practical testing stage and at the medical. Click here to see the Firefighter Selection Tests.
I have a spent conviction. Will this be a problem?
Having a spent conviction should not necessarily bar you from employment as a firefighter. As part of the recruitment process you will be asked to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) form in order for the Service to check all previous convictions. A decision will be made on each case dependent on the particular circumstances.
Will I be expected to swim?
Part of the role of a firefighter will be to rescue people from open water. Therefore we will expect candidates to have confidence in water and be a competent swimmer. We will test this as part of the selection process. You will be expected to swim 50 meters using the front crawl technique unaided and without stopping. This test will take place in a swimming pool in normal swimwear. See all the Firefighter Selection Tests on our website for further information.
Will I be able to wear a beard?
As a firefighter you will be expected to wear Breathing Apparatus (BA) and facial hair must not impair the integrity of the BA facemask seal, or the securing of the head harness of both BA facemask and helmet. Particular emphasis will be given to ensure that the area of face coming into contact with the facemask seal is free from hair growth.
Facial hair including beards, goatee beards, triangles, hairlines or tufts are not permitted on the grounds of Health and Safety. Failure to comply with this requirement will impair the efficiency of the facemask seal and compromise the gas-tight fit.
However, closely worn moustaches that are neat and tidy are permitted provided they do not impinge upon the facemask seal and compromise the gas-tight fit.
I have some body tattoos. Will this be a problem?
Tattoos to the body are permitted providing that, where visible, they are not of an offensive nature and they do not detract from the positive public image of the Service. Facial tattoos are not generally permitted as it is felt they may detract from the positive public image of the service, however, an assessment would be made on an individual basis to take into account religious and cultural beliefs.
Will I receive feedback on my performance in the selection process?
Due to the large volumes of applicants we will be unable to provide feedback in the initial stages of the process.
What should I wear to the assessment events?
This will depend on the type of assessment you are attending. Specific details will be provided each time you are invited in for a particular assessment.
English is not my first language and I’m concerned that this may affect my performance at the on-line stage. What assistance can you recommend?
Local colleges and adult education providers, such as Hull College, East Riding College, Grimsby Institute and North Lindsey College offer courses in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Alternatively, Learndirect offer free qualifications in English language.
Are there any restrictions on religious dress, such as turbans or head coverings?
The requirement from an operational perspective may present limited flexibillity. Please contact the Recuitment team for more information at email@example.com
I observe religious holidays, which include fasting, am I able to choose the date and time for certain elements of the selection process?
We have considered religious festivals in our recruitment planning, however we can still try and be as flexible, as much as possible.
I have just discovered I am pregnant, will I still be able to apply?
Yes, pregnancy does not stop you applying for these roles. However if you are successful in the initial stages, we wouldn’t allow you undertake the fitness testing, because we have a duty of care and there may be a risk to your health. We may be able to offer some flexibility to allow you to take these tests at a later date, within a reasonable time frame.
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service recruits on merit and encourages applications for vacancies from all sections of the community.