Firefighters put out fires and rescue people in other types of emergencies, such as explosions, bombs, building collapses, and car accidents. A firefighter also educates people about fire safety and prevention, and they spend a lot of time volunteering in the community and learning new skills and techniques. A career in the fire service can be both rewarding and difficult. It’s a career worth considering if you’re physically fit, enjoy talking to people, and the idea of being stuck behind a desk all day doesn’t appeal to you.
In this guide, we’ll look at how to become a firefighter in the United Kingdom, including the skills you’ll need, what firefighter training entails, and how much firefighters are paid in the United Kingdom. Check out 10 Planning Center Services Alternatives For Church Management.
What exactly firefighters do?
Firefighters respond to emergencies, the most obvious of which is a fire. However, there are other situations, like car accidents, chemical spills, and floods, in which fire crews must work with other emergency services.
But this is only one aspect of their job; they also spend a significant amount of time talking to people in their community about fire safety and prevention.
Firefighters check for fire hazards and give advice to businesses, organisations (like schools), and people in their own homes. They are also always learning new skills and practising them, going to classes, and staying physically fit.
A whole-time firefighter works full-time, whereas a retained firefighter is on call and only comes to the fire station when there is an emergency. Retained firefighters have other jobs, but they must be ready to drop everything and report for duty in minutes if called.
What qualifications do I need to become a firefighter?
To begin with, it goes without saying that you must be physically fit, and you will be tested on this as part of the application process, so you must be committed to maintaining this level of fitness throughout your training and career.
You’ll be talking to and advising a wide range of people in your community, from children to the elderly, so you’ll need excellent communication and people skills, as well as sensitivity. It is also essential to be able to work as part of a team and follow instructions.
You must be able to remain calm and professional under pressure, even when dealing with severely injured and distressed individuals. This is not a job for the faint of heart.
You’ll also be the type of person who can think on their feet and solve problems on their own.
According to fireservice.co.uk, the following personal qualities are required to become a firefighter:
- Capability to communicate effectively
- Diversity Commitment
What credentials do I need to become a firefighter?
You must have 9–4 GCSE math and English language grades, or a level two equivalent (like a vocational qualification). As part of the application process, you must provide your qualification certificates.
You don’t need A-levels, a degree, or any other professional qualifications, but some applicants will have them.
However, check with your local fire department for their specific requirements, as they may differ. The London Fire Brigade has a helpful careers website with lots of information on how to become a firefighter.
What kind of firefighter training is required?
All new firefighters must go through extensive training, which typically lasts between 12 and 16 weeks. Even firefighters who have been on the job for many years must undergo ongoing training to stay at the top of their game.
Training entails learning more about the physical and practical aspects of the job, as well as the causes and behaviour of fires. As part of your firefighter training, you will learn about:
- Managing smoke inhalation
- Correct use of firefighting equipment.
- The behaviour of fire in various types of buildings and environments.
- First aid and resuscitation techniques
After completing your firefighting training, you will be required to shadow other experienced firefighters for a period of time in order to further your learning. Most fire departments require new firefighters to serve a two-year probation period during which their development is closely monitored. During this time, many firefighters get more training, like a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Emergency Fire and Rescue Services Operations in the Community.
What else should I know before I apply?
You do not need any previous firefighting experience or qualifications to apply, but you must be able to live and work in the United Kingdom.
When you apply, you must be at least 17.5 years old, so that you will be 18 by the time you begin your training.
By the time you begin training, you must have a full UK driving licence and have passed a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) theory test.
Firefighters work irregular hours; this is not a 9-to-5 job. You will be working nights, weekends, and public holidays. During an emergency, you may be forced to work for several hours without rest.
What do firefighters in the United Kingdom get paid for?
The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service reports that the average salary for a trainee firefighter is around £22,000.
As your career goes on, you may be able to move up into management and makeup to £55,000 as an area manager.
Where do I begin?
To begin, locate your local fire department using the Chief Fire Officers Association website.
Make sure you read all of the information about the recruitment and application process on the individual fire service’s website so that you fully understand what is expected of you.