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Frequently asked questions (firefighter recruitment)

What is the minimum age that you can apply to become a firefighter?

We ask that our candidates are 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?

We are pleased to advise that there is no upper age limit to our recruitment process.

What skills do I need to be a firefighter?

The role of a firefighter has evolved significantly over the last few years and, as a result, firefighters have to be more adaptable and flexible in their approach than ever before.  Our firefighters can find themselves managing environmental issues, such as floods and storms, or attending health related incidents, therefore an ability to work under pressure as part of a team is essential.  Our firefighters are also proud to be an integral part of the local community and often attend public safety events as well as making home visits, therefore good communication skills are vital. 

What qualifications do I need to have?

Whilst there is no specific requirement for any formal qualifications, candidates will be asked to undertake a number of psychometric tests during the online assessment process and these will include verbal and numerical reasoning.  The standard of these tests is in line within GCSE Grade 9-4 (GCSE Grade A*-C) in Maths and English.  Should you wish to improve your English and Maths skills, there are various courses within the area which may be of interest (please click here for further information). 

I’m disabled, can I still apply?

We welcome applicants from across the community we serve and having a disability does not prevent anyone from applying to join the Service.  Candidates may be asked if they require any reasonable adjustments to be made to enable them to take part in the selection process and to fulfil the role of a firefighter and if so, every effort will be made to accommodate these requests where possible. 

How do you select candidates?

Candidates are first asked to apply online via the Humberside Fire & Rescue Service website.  If their application is accepted, candidates will then be asked to complete a series of psychometric tests.  If this stage is successfully completed, candidates will be invited to undertake practical and physical tests.  When completing the online stages, we recommend that candidates try and ensure that they are in a quiet and calm environment and make sure that they’re not under any time pressures.

When might I need to be available, should I progress through the process?

Candidates will only be asked to attend on one day for each of the tests, i.e. a day for the Firefighter tests, a day for the interview and a day for the medical assessment.  Although candidates will initially be allocated a date and time, there may be the opportunity to change these, subject to availability and timescales. 

Can I choose which station to work at?

Whilst every effort will be made to place successful candidates at their preferred station, we also have to take into account the stations at which there are vacancies.  Candidates should therefore be aware that they may be asked to work at any station within the Humberside Service area. 

What will I be paid as a Firefighter?

Successful candidates can expect to receive a starting salary of £22,459 during the first 14 weeks of their initial training course.  Following a successful training period, firefighters can then expect to be placed on the development rate of pay which is £23,394 during the 3 years probationary period.  Once a firefighter is considered to be competent, the salary will increase to £29,934.

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). As a Service, we recognise the value of family friendly shift patterns and the Service is currently trialling a local, self-rostering shift system whereby all full-time stations roster a shift pattern of 24 hours on, 24 hours off, 24 hours on, 5 days off.  The substantive shift pattern is a 2-2-4 pattern, 2-day shifts, 2-night shifts followed by 4 days off. 

What if I wear glasses or contact lenses?

Wearing glasses or contact lenses will not adversely affect a candidate’s application.  Candidates will be asked to participate in an eye test, the standard requirements for which are:

  • A minimum uncorrected binocular distance vision of 6/12 unaided, with 6/24 in the worst eye.

  • A minimum corrected binocular distance 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

Should a candidate have had laser surgery, they will be able to join the Service after a period of 12 months from date of surgery, subject to the above standard requirements being met and there being no evidence of any complications that would impair the candidate’s ability to work safely and effectively.

Candidates with minor colour vision defects may also apply to join the Service but may be asked to participate in specialised testing to confirm their ability to work safely and effectively.

What are the hearing standards for firefighters?

Candidates are required to meet the following hearing standards:

  • Low frequency thresholds (0.5, 1 and 2kHz) [60 dB hearing loss

  • High frequency thresholds (3,4 and 6 kHz) [80 dB hearing loss

  • Speech frequency thresholds (1,2,3 kHz) [60 dB hearing loss and (no value>25 dB HL)

A hearing test will form part of the medical assessment undertaken by our Occupational Health Team.

How long is the firefighter training course?

The course is 14 weeks long (Monday – Friday) and successful candidates will have the option of staying overnight for the duration of the course or returning home each evening. 

Do I need to have a driving licence to apply?

There is no need for candidates to have a driving licence, however candidates will be required to effectively commute around the Service area, to any location, for operational and/or training purposes.  Station allocations for successful candidates will be made depending on the Service needs, including skills requirements, at that time. 

I am currently serving as a firefighter at another fire and rescue service.  Can I apply to transfer straight in?

Unfortunately, we are not able to facilitate this option at this current moment in time.  However, we would encourage you to apply via the normal selection process. 

I am currently serving as an On-Call firefighter in Humberside.  Can I transfer into the full-time service without going through the full application process?

Unfortunately, we are not able to facilitate this option at this current moment in time.  However, we would encourage you to apply via the normal selection process.

How fit do I need to be?

All candidates will need to have a good, overall level of fitness, in particular aerobic fitness.  We also recommend good upper body strength as firefighters are often required to lift equipment that can weight up to 25kg.  During the recruitment process, candidates will need to achieve a VO2 max level of 42 and this will be measured by way of a gas analysis machine during the medical assessment.  All physical assessments are carried out under the guidance and supervision of the Service’s qualified Fitness Instructor

The Service has devised a training programme to assist all candidates achieve the level of fitness required (please click here for further information).  We strongly recommend that all candidates consult with their GP before undertaking the suggested training programme.

Are there any weight or height restrictions?

Whilst candidates are required to have achieved a good level of strength and fitness, this can be achieved by persons of all different sizes and builds.  As such, there are no restrictions on either weight or height.  

I have a spent conviction; will this be a problem?

Having a spent conviction does not necessarily prevent you from joining the Service as a firefighter.  All candidates will be asked to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) form as part of the standard application process.  Where a candidate has a spent conviction, we will consider its nature, its relevance to the role of a firefighter, the sentence, any pattern as well as the length of time that has elapsed before making any decision. 

Will I be expected to swim?

A firefighter may be asked to rescue people from open water, therefore the Service does require candidates to be competent and confident swimmers.  All candidates will be tested as part of the standard selection process and will be asked to undertake a timed 50m swim using the front crawl technique, unaided and without stopping.

The test will take place in a swimming pool, in normal swimwear, and under the guidance and supervision of the Service’s qualified Fitness Instructor. For further information, please click here.

Will I be able to wear a beard?

As a Service, we respect all candidates’ individual styles, religious beliefs and cultural preferences but there are health and safety reasons as to why facial hair cannot be accepted and these reasons apply to all candidates equally.  As a firefighter, candidates will be required to wear a facemask when wearing breathing apparatus and facial hair may impair the ability to secure the head harness of both the facemask and the helmet. To protect the firefighter, it is essential that the facemask forms a seal around the face so that the efficiency of the facemask seal and gas-tight fit is not compromised in any way.

Closely worn moustaches, maintained in a neat and tidy manner, are permitted provided they do not impact on the facemask seal and gas-tight fit. 

I have some body tattoos; will this be a problem?

Body tattoos will not cause a problem providing that, where visible, they are not of an offensive nature and do not detract from the positive public image of the Service.  Facial tattoos are not generally permitted as it is felt that they may detract from the positive public image of the Service.  However, we will consider a candidate’s religious and cultural beliefs before making any decision.

Will I receive feedback on my performance in the selection process?

Unfortunately, owing to the large volume of applicants, we regret that we are unable to provide feedback during the initial stages of the selection process. 

What should I wear to the assessment events?

Candidates will be provided with specific details each time they are invited for an assessment.

English is not my first language and I’m concerned this may affect my performance at the online stage.  What assistance can you recommend?

Candidates who do not have English as their first language may like to contact any of the following local colleges and adult education providers; Hull College, East Riding College, Grimsby Institute and North Lindsey College.  All offer courses in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).  Alternatively, candidates may be interested to know that Learndirect offers free qualifications in English language.

Are there any restrictions on religious dress, such as turbans or head coverings?

As a Service, we recognise and respect candidates’ religious and cultural dress requirements and would need to understand whether any aspect of the operational element would present limited flexibility.  To that end, candidates are asked to contact the Recruitment Team for more information at recruitment@humbersidefire.gov.uk

I observe religious holidays, which include fastings, am I able to choose the date and time for certain elements of the selection process?

Religious festivals were considered when we began planning our recruitment and selection process and we hope we have managed to accommodate all our candidates’ requirements wherever possible.  However, should any candidate have a specific request, please contact recruitment@humbersidefire.gov.uk and we will, of course, be as flexible as we can.

I have just discovered I am pregnant; will I still be able to apply?

Being pregnant does not prevent a candidate from applying for a role as a firefighter or any other role within the Service.  However, in accordance with our duty of care obligations, were you to be successful in the initial stages of the firefighter selection process, you may not be able to undergo the fitness tests owing to the potential health risks to you and your unborn baby.  Were that to be the case, we would offer you the opportunity to take the tests within a reasonable but later timescale.

 

Thank you for your interest in Humberside Fire & Rescue Service and for taking the time to read through our ‘frequently asked questions’ section.  We hope the information has been helpful. 

Humberside Fire & Rescue Service recruits on merit and encourages applications for vacancies from all sections of the community.