The common image of the Fire and Rescue Service is naturally one of firefighters turning out in fire engines and fighting fires. It is true of course that some of the work involves attendance at fires, but the role is much wider than this.
In recent years, greater emphasis has been placed on the Fire and Rescue Service's role within the community; with firefighters spending more time out in the community raising awareness, conducting Home Fire Safety Checks, communicating fire prevention and other safety messages.
In addition, a firefighter's work and training also has to be geared to responding at speed to emergency calls, regardless of weather conditions or the time of day or night. Every time firefighters are called to the scene of an emergency they must be prepared to deploy each and every skill in which they have been trained.
Fully competent firefighters are skilled technicians capable of using the most modern equipment, methods and techniques to undertake the full range of firefighting, rescues, road traffic collisions and other emergencies that the Fire and Rescue Service is called upon to deal with.
When they arrive at an incident as part of a team under the command of an incident commander, firefighters have to absorb a great deal of information rapidly and apply the skills they have learnt in conditions which will often be extremely dangerous and confusing. Despite all the training given in preparation for such incidents, however, firefighters will from time to time be faced with new situations where they may individually be required to provide solutions using previous experiences as a guide.
With such a varied job, the characteristics of a firefighter have to be those of courage; physical and mental strength; the capacity for rapid, intense and sustained effort, and an unquestioning acceptance of orders at emergencies, combined with the ability to use initiative when alone. A firefighter also needs to be compassionate and above all, display a positive and professional attitude at all times.
The Service operates a number of wholetime duty systems;
A summary of them is below:
The 42 hour week, four group duty system operates at all shift duty stations. The day shift will be from 0800 hours until 1800 hours and the night shift from 1800 hours until 0800 hours in accordance with a rota of two days/two nights/four days off duty.
The Day Crewing system provides for wholetime duty for an average of 42 hours weekly over a twelve week period. An average maximum of 35 hours are worked on the station each week.
In addition, members of staff are required to provide an average of 42 hours retained availability each week.
Duty days comprise the following:
• 0800 – 2000 hours - Defined bandwidth for undertaking wholetime duties, to include 10 positive and 2 standby hours
• 2000 – 0800 hours - Retained duties
Some Stations operate a flexible day crewing system.
Day Crewing Plus
The Day Crewing Plus system of duty consists of a combination of 'positive' and 'standby' hours.
Positive hours – provides an average working week of 42 hours over a twelve month period. No fixed working pattern is imposed and employees are required to self-roster in accordance with relevant guidance.
The positive component involves 12 hour shifts (including meal breaks), during which time employees undertake routine duties, ie training, community fire safety etc. Whilst indicative start and finish times of 0800 and 2000 are employed, these are flexible in accordance with local needs.
To meet the 42 hour week contractual obligation, staff are required to work a total of 148 shifts per annum after leave and public holidays are taken into account (figures quoted assume long service leave entitlement)
Working patterns are agreed in 12 week blocks and staff will be required to work a total of 34 shifts in each 12 week period. For managerial purposes, all shifts must be agreed and the rota fully populated a minimum of 6 weeks prior to the commencement of the relevant 12 week block.
Standby Hours – staff are available in 12 hour periods for up to 42 hours per week on average. During this time they will be on call for emergencies and must be able to respond to incidents within the specified timeframe. Staff may be on call at their own base provided that they can meet the specified response time. Alternatively, purpose built accommodation is provided if this is not possible.
The successful applicant would possess the following:
Firefighter Application Form
The application form provides us with your personal details such as work history or qualifications and gives you an opportunity to demonstrate any evidence that you have to show how you meet the employee specification. If an area is essential you cannot be considered for the role of Firefighter unless you evidence that you have that element of the criteria.
You will undertake tests to assess the ability to process information, problem solve and work with numbers. There may also be a personality questionnaire to assess personal qualities and attributes.
The tests may include, but are not limited to:
You will be required to undertake practical tests which assess your level of fitness, and strength, as well as your level of confidence in simulated exercises.
Tests involved are designed to reflect operational practice and may change from time to time but may include Ladder Climb, Casualty Evacuation, Ladder Lift / Lower Simulation, Enclosed Space, Equipment Carry and Bleep Test or the Chester Treadmill test and online assessment.
The point of entry fitness requirement is 42.3VO2 which is equivalent to Level 8.6 on the Multi-Stage Shuttle Run/Bleep Test.
The film below demonstrates what these tests may involve.
The bleep test:
Chester Treadmill test:
To find out more information about the required levels of physical fitness, download this booklet which has been created by the Chief Fire Officers Association
The interview consists of a face-to-face to discussion. The format will be a series of questions about your experience, knowledge, skills and abilities against the employee specification.
The employee specification will be available on this website when posts are advertised so you can consider the qualifications, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities we are looking for.
Once you are nearing the end of the selection process, you will be invited to attend a medical assessment, where you will be examined by the Fire and Rescue Service Doctor and your medical records obtained from your GP. You will also be asked to complete a questionnaire covering your medical history and will then be subject to a series of tests including: Hearing Test; Step Test; Lung Function; Physical Stamina and general tests.
Questions and Answers for Wholetime Firefighter Recruitment
I’m dyslexic; will I be able to cope with the written tests?
Dyslexia is classed as a disability and you will be asked if you have a disability as part of the application form process. Where a candidate has a disability, they should contact the Human Resources Department on 01772 866858 to discuss any reasonable adjustments you wish us to consider making during each stage of the recruitment process.
Do I have to be a certain height or weight to apply?
No. Candidates will be expected to pass strength and fitness tests as part of the recruitment process and these are at a level achievable for both men and women of all different sizes and builds.
Does having a criminal record prevent me from applying?
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. Having a criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from working for us. If you have a conviction the Service will consider its nature, its relevance to the role of firefighter, the sentence, patterns of offending and the length of time since the offence. Due to the nature of the duties some firefighter posts are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and are subject to a DBS Check/Enhanced Check via the Disclosure and Barring Service. Any post holder who undertakes regulated activity will also be subject to an additional Barred List check.
A copy of LFRS Policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders (where a post will involve a DBS disclosure) is available on LFRS website.
Can I choose which Station to work at?
Unfortunately not. Candidates will be placed at Stations where there are vacancies.
Can I choose which Shift pattern to work?
Unfortunately not. Different Stations have different shift patterns.
I have a beard for religious reasons; will I have to shave it off in order to be a firefighter?
Possibly, yes. The Service respects everyone’s religious beliefs but there are health and safety reasons as to why facial hair cannot be accepted.
As a firefighter you will be required to wear a facemask when you are wearing breathing apparatus. To ensure that the facemask forms a seal around the face, it is necessary to keep the face shaven where the facemask seals to prevent any dangerous airborne chemicals entering the facemask. We have more detailed information about the styles of facial hair that are considered acceptable upon request.
I wear glasses / have had laser eye surgery, can I apply?
Yes. Part of the recruitment process will include a medical and this will include an eye test. Our Occupational Health Physician will determine whether your vision meets the standards to become a firefighter. You will be required to take up to date eyesight test results to your medical appointment.
I have a disability, can I apply?
Yes, anyone who considers they have a disability can apply to join the fire service.
You will be asked if you have a disability as part of the recruitment process and to provide details of any adjustments that you may require to take part in the selection process and to fulfil the role of a firefighter. Each case will be considered on an individual basis.
Can I have a second job?
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service has a policy for secondary employment. Employees cannot engage in this without first requesting and obtaining written approval
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.
Will I be provided with uniform?
All new firefighters are issued with uniform and kit before the initial training course starts. Part of the training course is how to look after this equipment.
Kit includes a 'duty rig' uniform which is the uniform that will be worn whilst on duty, and full firefighting kit, including helmet and boots, which is used whilst carrying out training and when attending incidents.
Will I have to pay for my uniform?
Uniform is provided free of charge, including any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is issued.
What are the hours of work and duty systems?
LFRS have a number of duty systems. Full details can be found by clicking on ‘Shift Systems’
What Annual Leave will I get?
Details about the Annual Leave allocation can be found by clicking on ‘Terms and Conditions’
Where are the locations of the fire stations in Lancashire?
Locations of all our fire stations are on our website. You must be prepared to work anywhere within Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service. Some of our fire stations require you to live within 5 minutes of the station, so you may need to relocate. These are our ‘Day Crewing’ stations.
Can I join a fire service pension scheme?
Yes, there is a pension scheme, details of which are given to successful candidates.
Is there a requirement for a driving licence?
Yes, the Service requires wholetime firefighters to provide cover anywhere in the County at short notice, therefore we ask for a driving licence as part of the essential criteria.
I’m learning to drive at the moment, and have my test booked for in a few months’ time. Can I still apply?
You can apply, however in order to be successful at the final stage of the recruitment process, you must have a full and current driving licence that entitles you to drive in the UK without restrictions.
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.
Is it OK to have a tattoo or body piercing?
In the interests of health and safety, all piercings must be removed before starting operational duty. Tattoos are acceptable providing they could not be deemed as offensive. Tattoos are automatically unacceptable if they are rude, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic or violent.
Is there a requirement to be able to swim?
This is a desirable criteria.
What if I can’t make an assessment date or the training course dates?
The dates of the assessments and training course dates will be made known at the beginning of the recruitment process. If you are unable to make any of the dates you will not be able to continue with the process.
What will happen if I forget to attend or arrive late to any of the assessments?
You will be withdrawn from the recruitment process.
What will happen if I forget to bring photographic ID and any requested documentation to assessments or interviews?
We need to ensure that the person we are assessing is the person that is applying for the role of wholetime firefighter; therefore if you do not bring photographic ID to each stage of the process you will be withdrawn from the recruitment process.
Where can I get an application form?
Applicants can apply via the Current Live Jobs.
Will there be a holding list for applicants who meet the criteria but are not successful?
We do not anticipate having one, however, we will advise applicants from the last recruitment campaign when we intend to advertise and the same information will be available on our website.
I’ve recently passed the National Firefighter Selection process with a different Fire and Rescue Service and I am on their holding list. Would I still need to apply and go through your recruitment process?
Yes. Our processes may differ from those used within other Fire and Rescue Services and in the interests of fairness, it is vital that all candidates have been assessed in the same way.
What do firefighters actually do, apart from putting out fires?
The emphasis for us is on prevention, which means that firefighters contribute to educating the community about the importance of fire safety; working with local communities and local businesses. They also deal with other types of emergency – road, rail or air traffic accidents; floods, chemical spills, rescuing people or animals. They also spend time training and doing routine activities such as checking equipment.
Are there any career prospects?
Yes, there are opportunities and a clear path for development and promotion. This could be in terms of moving into a specialist area such as Protection, for instance as a Fire Safety Enforcement Officer, or becoming a manager in an operational post, ie Crew Manager, Watch Manager and so on.
How many jobs are there?
The number of vacancies available depends on a number of factors, such as retirement rates and Service requirements. We are unable to provide specific numbers at this stage.
What if I have a medical issue?
Decisions relating to whether or not your medical issue will prevent you from becoming a firefighter can only be made following a detailed and individual assessment with our Occupational Health Unit (OHU).
What if I have Asthma?
It won’t necessarily prevent you from becoming a firefighter. Your condition will be assessed at the medical stage by our OHU.
Do I have to be fit to apply?
You will need to be physically fit and maintain your levels of fitness throughout a career as a firefighter. Early into the recruitment process you will be required to undertake a fitness test to determine your aerobic capacity which needs to be 42.3 VO2 (aerobic capacity) will be predicted during the Multi Stage Shuttle Run (bleep test) or Chester Treadmill Test with the target of 42.3 VO2 being achievable upon completion of level 8.6.
I am already a wholetime firefighter in another fire and rescue service; do I need to go through all the assessments?
Yes, you will be expected to complete the application process in the same way as anyone else.
What if I’m a retained (on-call) firefighter in another fire and rescue service?
You will be expected to complete the application process in the same way as anyone else. If you were successful with LFRS and wished to continue with the other FRS, you would have to make a request for secondary employment.
Will Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service be accepting any external competent firefighter transfers?
No, we are not accepting any external transfers.
Are there any essential qualifications to apply?
Yes, it is essential that applicants have a minimum of three GCSE’s including English language and maths at grade A – C or an equivalent qualification i.e. Level 2 functional skills in numeracy and literacy plus one other.
I have been through a recruitment process previously; will it be the same process?
Many of the recruitment activities will be similar, but also different from previous occasions.
What is the Bleep?
The Multi-Stage Shuttle Run (Bleep) /Chester Treadmill Test demonstrates the required levels of fitness. The standard required will be 42.3VO2 (equivalent to level 8.6 on the Multi-Stage Shuttle Run/Chester Treadmill Test). To undertake the Fitness Test candidates will be required to wear suitable loose-fitting clothing, such as a track suit or shorts and t-shirt and suitable training shoes.
What do the on-line assessments consist of?
You will be assessed on your verbal and numerical skills, your situational judgement and IT knowledge. There is also a test designed to identify your suitability for certain types of duty systems. The best websites for practising would be as detailed below:
Please note these tests will not be exactly the same as the tests applicants will be undertaking
What can I do if I haven’t got the required GCSE or equivalent?
National Guidance is available on our website:
I applied last time do I need to reapply?
Yes, if you registered, the system will have retained your previous application form and you can view this. If you chose not to register the system will not have retained your previous application form.
I applied last time will I need to undertake the online tests?
If last time you were invited to the bleep, you will not need to retake the numeracy, literacy and Quick Sift tests at the application form stage as you met the required standard and your score will be carried forward.
What is the salary for a firefighter?
As at 1.7.2017, a trainee firefighter who commences a wholetime recruit’s course will commence on a salary of £22,459. On successful completion of the wholetime recruits course, the individual will progress to being in development on a salary of £23,394. Further to additional training and on achieving competency (this may take up to a maximum of 2 years) the salary will increase to £29,934. Additional allowances are paid depending on the working shift system adopted.
At what age can I retire
If you join the Firefighters 2015 Pension Scheme you can currently retire at 60 years of age without reductions.
Job Title: Firefighter
Responsible To: Crew/Watch Manager
Hrs: As per shift pattern
Location: As determined by the Chief Fire Officer
Car Parking: Free Car Parking Facilities are available at Fire Stations
Pension: Fire Fighters Pension Scheme
Annual LeaveEntitlement: 23 days per annum plus 3 additional days after 5 years continuous service plus bank holidays. The booking and taking of leave is prescribed as per Service Orders
Other Terms and Conditions: National Joint Council for Local Authorities Fire Brigades.
Car Categorisation: Able to drive and possession of a current category ‘B’ car full UK driving licence that entitles you to drive in the UK without restrictions. If it carries any endorsements, clearance will be required from the Head of Fleet and Technical Services before you can be appointed even if you are successful at interview.
Clearances: Satisfactory references, Occupational Health Assessment
It is unacceptable for any LFRS employee to be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs at work. Such employees pose unnecessary risks to themselves and to their colleagues. Further, the behaviour of those who work in safety critical roles and safety critical support roles can affect both the safety of members of the public and public confidence in the Authority. LFRS has legal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of its employees, and employees are obliged not to endanger the health or well-being of others by their acts or omissions. To this end, LFRS will screen all candidates selected for employment for illegal drugs and alcohol. This will be carried out at our Occupational Health Unit, under strict protocols and confidentially. Any candidate who refuses to be screened will not be employed. Any candidate who tests positive for illegal drugs or unsafe levels of alcohol will not be employed.