Here are some Frequently asked questions that you may find useful when learning about the role of wholetime firefighter.

Is there an age limit?

There is no upper age limit but you must be aged 18 when the training course starts.

Can I continue/commence secondary employment whilst working for Avon Fire and Rescue Service?

All employees, with the exception of those on the retained duty system (On-Call) must not undertake any outside work, either paid or unpaid without the permission of the Chief Fire Officer.  Secondary employment must not be conducted during the initial training and development period.

Why do applicants have to live within the Avon Fire & Rescue Service area?

There are many reasons for this. An important aspect of the Firefighter role is to work within the community.  If you live within our area you will have a better understanding of our communities and this will assist you within the role. In addition, firefighters are required to work at any of our Fire Stations and it has proven difficult in the past if firefighters live outside of the travel to work area. 

How can I check if I live in the Avon Fire & Rescue Service Area?

Our service covers Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset (BANES), South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. If you live on the boundary line we will accept your application. If after checking the map using the button below, you remain uncertain as to whether you live within the designated area please contact our HR Team using the link to the enquiry form at the top of this page.

If I move to the Service area can I apply?

You will need to be able to provide evidence that you live in our Service area at the application stage.

Why are we encouraging applications from women and people from BAME backgrounds?

At Avon Fire & Rescue Service we think it’s important our workforce is representative of the communities we serve so we are encouraging applications from groups currently under-represented within the workforce, particularly women and people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

At the moment only 6.05% of our fulltime firefighters are women and 4.36% from BAME backgrounds – both well below the averages in our area.

We will be taking additional steps to ensure we raise awareness of firefighting as a career among under-represented groups as we want the very best people to be our next generation of firefighters. It’s about ensuring the pool of talent we have to choose from is as wide as possible and encouraging people to apply who perhaps never thought a career in the fire and rescue service is for them.

Once an application is made every candidate will be considered on merit, regardless of their background.

I have a medical condition, can I still apply?

We employ Fire-fighters who have medical conditions.  However, there are some significant medical conditions which could preclude you from becoming a Firefighter.  If you wish to discuss this confidentially please contact one of our HR Team by e-mail or phone on 01179 262061.  We would encourage you to enquire prior to applying so we can advise whether you are likely to meet the medical criteria. Some conditions such as asthma may preclude you if your symptoms are triggered by exercise or environmental factors. However, whilst HR can provide general advice the final decision can only be made by a Doctor at the medical stage of the selection process.  If you pass all stages of the selection process you will be invited to complete a health questionnaire and attend a medical.  The Occupational Health Doctor or Nurse will help us determine if you are fit to safely become a Firefighter. 

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. Offences such as drink driving, violence or sexual offences are likely to preclude you from being offered a post. If you wish to discuss your situation in confidence with a member of our HR Team please call us on 0117 9262061.

Do I need a driver's licence?

You will not be required to hold a current UK driving licence in order to apply. However, you will be expected to be able to travel to stations across our service area. If you do not have a driving licence, there is the expectation that you will gain a driving licence within the first two years of employment and any offers of employment will be subject to this condition.

I have points on my driving license, can I still apply?

We will accept a maximum of 3 points on your license.  Your driving license will be checked with the DVLA if you are offered a position. Therefore you must provide accurate information and if you have more than 3 points your application will not be accepted. 

What shifts do Fire-fighters work?

The current shift patterns are normally 2 days (8am-5pm) followed by 2 nights (5pm-8am) and then 4 days off.  The only exception is Yate Fire Station which will operate a day duty system only.


Glasses and/or (soft) contact lenses are permitted, and your eyesight will be assessed during your medical. The standards are:

  • 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 (ie 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.


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 (eg Boots, Specsavers).

Hearing level

LF Sum

HF Sum

Speech Sum


≤ 45 dB HL

≤ 45 dB HL

≤ 35 dB HL


≤ 60 dB HL

≤ 80 dB HL

≤ 60 dB HL (no value > 25 dB HL)


≤ 80 dB HL

≤ 120 dB HL

≤ 90 dB HL (no value > 40 dB HL)


< 120 dB HL

≤ 150 dB HL

≤ 120 dB HL


> 120 dB HL

> 150 dB HL

> 120 dB HL


If you are dyslexic you can 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.


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 your strength and 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.


You will be informed of your position at each stage of the selection process; this will be by email however if you wish to receive this by post you must indicate this on your application form. Please do not contact us to check your progress as we cannot respond to all queries due to the volume of applications.


The training course is 12 weeks in total.


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.


There is no particular dress code however you will be provided with any specific details when being invited to each assessment.


Wholetime crews work a shift pattern of two days, two nights and four days off. The day shifts run from 8am to 5pm, and the night shifts from 5pm to 8am. These shift patterns follow a coloured system – blue, green, white, red – and are set at the start of the year allowing staff to plan their whole year. Along with the wholetime pattern, we also offer day crewing at Yate fire station – this covers four days of 7am to 5:55pm and then four days off.