FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions that you may find useful. If you can't find the answers you're looking for, use the button below to access the enquiry form.

Enquiry form

ELIGIBILITY

Q: Is there an age limit?

No, there is no upper age limit but you must be aged 18 before the start of your firefighter training.

Q: Is there a height limit?

No, there is no longer a height limit.

Q: How close do I need to be to my local fire station?

You must live and/or work within five minutes of your local On-Call fire station to allow you to respond in time to meet the agreed attendance levels. Any response to the station is constrained by current driving legislation and adherence to speed limits, traffic signals and so on.

Q: What is cover?

‘Cover’ is the time during the week that you would be available to respond to your local On-Call fire station in an emergency. You can commit to ‘full’ or ‘part’ cover, the choice is yours.

Part cover firefighters must be available for an average of 84 hours out of an available 168 hours within any seven day period. This average is calculated over a 12 week period.  Full cover firefighters must be available for an average of 120 hours out of the available 168 hours within any seven day period. This average is also calculated over a 12 week period.

The decision to bring you forward for assessment will, in part, be based on the cover you are offering and it is therefore important you are clear about the cover you are able to give, i.e. evening, daytime and or weekend cover. Your cover will be agreed before any offer of employment is made and will form part of your employment contract.

Q: How often will I be called out?

On average you’ll be called out about 2-3 times a week dependant on your station area.  In hot summers you may be busy with grass fires.  Alternatively, during prolonged wet periods, you may attend flooding incidents.  No two calls are ever the same!

Q: Can I go shopping/visiting/out whilst on call?

Yes, but you must make sure that you carry your pager and that you can still get to the station within 5 minutes.  If you need to go further afield you need to book unavailable.  Please remember whilst you are on call you must be fit for duty.

What if I can’t do the same hours every week or I need to change the hours I do?
You need to commit to a certain number of hours to get your retaining fee, but there will be some flexibility depending on the availability of the rest of the team to change hours of cover.
Any change to the agreed cover you provided at appointment will be considered by the service and if it no longer meets the needs of the service your contract may be terminated.

FITNESS & MEDICAL

Q: How fit to do I need to be?

You must have a good standard of upper body strength and fitness, and maintain your fitness levels throughout your career as a firefighter. Your fitness will be assessed during the selection process to determine that your aerobic capacity is at least a VO2 max level of 42; this is the absolute minimum level of fitness we will accept. You are also required to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Q: I have a medical condition, can I still apply?

We employ firefighters who have medical conditions however there are some significant medical conditions which could potentially preclude you from becoming a firefighter. If you wish to discuss this confidentially contact Human Resources for advice. Whilst HR can provide general advice the final decision can only be made by our Occupational Health Doctor. If invited to medical you will be required to complete a health questionnaire which will assist the Doctor in determining if you are fit to safely become a firefighter.

Q: What are the eyesight standards?

  • Minimum corrected visual acuity (VA) of 6/9, with a minimum of 6/12 in the worse eye.
  • Minimum uncorrected vision of 6/18 in the better eye, and 6/24 in the worse eye.
  • Normal binocular field of vision.
  • The ability to read N6 at 30cm unaided (under 25 years)
  • The ability to read N12 at 30cm unaided (25 years and over).
  • Colour vision will be assessed using the Ishihara Test.
  • If you have had surgical correction (for example laser surgery) you must be 12 months post-surgery with no evidence of complications that would impair safe or effective working, provided the above criteria are met.
  • Conditions likely to preclude you are: protanopia, deuteranopia, monochromatism, tritanopia/tritanomaly, protanomaly, night blindness or any ocular disease.

If you have any concerns about your eyesight or colour vision you should check if you are likely to meet the required standards with your Optician.

Q: I wear glasses/contact lenses, will I still be able to apply?

Glasses and/or soft contact lenses are permitted, and your eyesight will be assessed during your medical.

Q: What are the hearing standards?

Your hearing will be assessed during your medical. The following summative measures are used to assign an overall score for each ear (H1, H2, H3, H4 and H5). The worse ear is used for recruitment purposes, with levels H1 and H2 being acceptable. If you have any concerns about your hearing you should check if you are likely to meet the required standards with your GP or arrange a test through a private hearing test provider (for example at Boots, Specsavers).

 

LF Sum

HF Sum

Speech Sum

H1

≤ 45 dB HL

≤ 45 dB HL

≤ 35 dB HL

H2

≤ 60 dB HL

≤ 80 dB HL

≤ 60 dB HL (no value > 25 dB HL)

H3

≤ 80 dB HL

≤ 120 dB HL

≤ 90 dB HL (no value > 40 dB HL)

H4

< 120 dB HL

≤ 150 dB HL

≤ 120 dB HL

H5

> 120 dB HL

> 150 dB HL

> 120 dB HL

OFFENCES & DRIVING LICENCE

Q: I have a criminal conviction, will this prevent me from applying?

If your criminal conviction is spent then this will not preclude you from applying. If your conviction is not spent we will consider the nature of the conviction and any impact upon employment on a case by case basis. If you wish to discuss your situation in confidence with a member of our HR Team please call us on 0117 9262061.

Q: I have points on my driving licence, can I still apply?

We will accept three points on your licence. Your driving licence will be checked with the DVLA if you are offered a position.

SELECTION PROCESS

Q: What does the selection process consist of?

  • Application form
  • Interview with the Station Management Team.
  • Fitness test, to test your VO2.
  • Written tests.
  • Physical tests.

If successful and offered a job, you will then proceed to a medical assessment and uniform fitting.

Q: How will I know how my application is progressing?

Invitation to each stage of the selection process will be sent to you by email, as will your results and any other important messages. You will be informed of your position at each stage as soon as possible. If you wish to receive communications by post you must indicate this on your application form.

Q: When will I receive my contract?

Decisions about which candidates to employ are made as soon as possible on completion of the selection process; this will be by email in the first instance. On your acceptance your contract will be drafted and sent to you in the post.

Q: What pre-employment checks will take place?

If you are offered a job we will take up references, check your driving licence with the DVLA, and carry out a DBS check (formerly CRB check).

TRAINING

Q: How long is the training course?

You will be sent details of the next training course when you are invited to take part in the selection process. The course will be in three parts (you should note that some of your training will be held at the weekend):

  • Core Skills training – 12 days
  • Breathing Apparatus training (week one) = five days
  • Breathing Apparatus training (week two) = five days
  • Road Traffic Collision training = three days

Q: Where does the training take place?

Initial familiarisation training will take place at your local fire station on their drill night each week (1900-2100 hours), for four weeks (see table below).

Station

Drill Night

Station

Drill Night

02 Thornbury

Monday

18 Weston-super-Mare

Monday

03 Yate

Monday

19 Yatton

Wednesday

07 Portishead

Wednesday

20 Chew Magna

Monday

08 Pill

Wednesday

21 Radstock

Thursday

12 Bath

Thursday

22 Paulton

Thursday

16 Nailsea

Wednesday

23 Blagdon

Monday

17 Clevedon

Monday

24 Winscombe

Monday

Firefighter training takes place at the Severn Park Fire & Rescue Training Centre in Avonmouth, Bristol. Accommodation can be provided.

Q: Will I be paid for attending training?

Yes. You will be provided with the necessary forms to complete so that payment can be made into your bank account.

UNIFORM

Q: What uniform will I need?

If you are offered a job you will be invited to attend our Technical Services Unit to be measured for your uniform, both personal protective equipment – fire kit and station wear. You will also be fitted for your face mask. Male candidates will need to shave before attending.

Q: When do I receive my uniform?

You will receive your uniform before your familiarisation training starts. Your Manager will help you to ensure it fits correctly and take care of any sizing issues.

GENERAL

Q: I have tattoos, will this be a problem?

Body tattoos are acceptable provided that they are not offensive and do not detract from the positive public image of the fire and rescue service. Visible tattoos on face or hands are not generally acceptable.

Q: What should I wear when invited to assessments?

There is no particular dress code, and you will be provided with any specific details at each stage of the process. In general:

  • Interview – no dress code.
  • Fitness test – comfortable sportswear/shoes.
  • Written tests – no dress code.
  • Physical tests – clothing that will be comfortable under fire kit.
  • Medical – comfortable sportswear/shoes.
  • Uniform fitting – no dress code except no jeans.

Q: Do I need any qualifications?

No, although you will need to pass selection tests. However, if you have GCSE grade A-C or above (or equivalent) in English and Maths you will not be required to sit the full suite of written tests (you will sit only one test instead of three). Your original qualification certificates will be requested when inviting you to the written tests. If you cannot provide these you will have to sit all three tests.

Q: Do I have to provide any other documents?

Yes, at each stage of the process you will be required to provide ID (birth certificate or passport) and your driving licence. Some form of photo ID will be required.

Q: I am dyslexic, will I still be able to apply?

If you are dyslexic you can still apply. You must indicate that you are dyslexic where prompted on your application form so that reasonable adjustments can be considered for you. When you reach the written tests stage you may be provided with extra time to take the tests if this is supported by evidence of your dyslexia which must be from an appropriate specialist.