Skip to content


On call firefighters respond to 999 calls from home or work when they're on duty. They often have other weekday jobs. They're paid, fully trained and work alongside full-time firefighters.



Who can apply?

You must:

  • be over 18 when the recruit course is due to start - there's no upper age limit
  • be less than 4 minutes away from your chosen fire station
  • have the right to work in the UK (but we accept any nationality)
  • not have any unspent criminal convictions (if you have a criminal record, you must let us know in your application).

There are no height requirements.

You need to maintain a level of fitness and will be tested during the selection process. Find out more:

Fitness, disabilities and medical conditions

Armed forces - current and former

If you're currently serving outside our eligible postcodes, you can still apply - just contact us first at

We've signed up to the Armed Forced Covenant to treat those who serve in the armed forces, or who have served, with fairness and respect.

To make sure everyone has an equal chance of applying, we don't make special provisions for current or former military personnel.

Your experience may help you with discipline and fitness, but there's much more to the role of a modern firefighter.

There's no process for direct transfer into the Fire and Rescue Service, just as there's no process for firefighters to transfer directly into the military.

If you've applied, or worked, for another fire service

If you've completed a selection process with another fire service, you'll still need to complete our process, so all applicants are assessed the same way.

If you work for another fire service, take a look at our wholetime transfer opportunities.

Tattoos, piercings and facial hair

We will accept candidates with tattoos, unless they could be construed as discriminatory, violent, intimidating or offensive to any religion or belief - regardless of where they appear on your body.

We will accept candidates with body piercings, but they must be removed when on duty. For health and safety reasons, we won't accept candidates with cavities caused by body modifications (such as flesh tunnels or ear stretchers) unless they can be surgically corrected.

You must keep most of your face and neck free of hair or stubble because it affects the seal of the breathing apparatus. You can have facial hair that doesn't interfere with the seal, like a moustache or a small goatee.

We're an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all parts of the community.


What would I be doing?

  • While you're on duty, you need to be able to drop everything and respond to an emergency at a moment's notice, including road accidents, fires and rescues.
  • Educating people on how to prevent fires and how to protect themselves.
  • Home fire safety visits.
  • Being a positive role model and taking part in educational schemes like Princes Trust, Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and LiFe courses.
  • Working with other emergency services to solve problems.


How much would I earn per year?

You receive a basic annual fee for the number of hours cover you agree to do. You also get payment for each call out to an incident you do.

You’ll have to go to a drill night at your station for 3 hours 1 evening per week for training with your colleagues, which you will be paid for.

An estimate of average earnings when qualified is based on:

  • having served 2 years
  • contracted 90 hours cover a week
  • 48 drill nights per year
  • attended at least 50 incidents in the year
  • 20 hours of training courses per year (in addition to your drill nights)
  • 30 hours extra community work a year

The total is £5495 per year before deductions (approx. £450 per month).

For a full list of pay scales check our pay settlement.


When would I be working?

You need to be available for an agreed amount of time, usually about 90 hours a week. Many give cover during weekdays, evenings or weekends. They usually have another job during the week too.


What happens after I apply?

Stage 1 - After you apply

If you have a GCSE A*-C (9-4) grade in both English and maths or an equivalent qualification (PDF 107kb), we'll invite you to our next selection day.

If you don't have these qualifications, we'll ask you to take a supervised Level 2 English and maths test. If you pass, we'll invite you to our next selection day.

If you fail the test, or you don't meet all our eligibility requirements, we'll let you know by email.

Stage 2 - Attend a selection day

Selection days are usually on the first Tuesday of March, June, September and December. We'll contact you about a month before the selection day.

You will have 7 pass-or-fail tests of your fitness, dexterity and equipment handling.

If you pass these tests you’ll be invited to a formal interview.

Stage 3 - Formal interview

We'll send you details of how to prepare in advance. Please bring any documents we've asked for.

Stage 4 - Full medical

You'll have a medical appointment with our occupational health department, which you must pass. You need to complete some medical questionnaires and an optician's report before the appointment. Please bring photo ID and documents on any medical conditions you have (such as letters from a GP or specialist).

The medical is in 3 stages:

  • medical tests with the occupational health adviser
  • a doctor's examination and DVLA paperwork
  • a fitness test with the service fitness adviser.

We'll check the following:

  • drugs test - we'll take a urine sample.
  • height and weight
  • blood pressure and pulse
  • your lungs
  • your hearing and eyesight (if required)
  • palpation of the abdomen
  • your reflexes.

No medical information is released to the service - we're just advised on whether you're fit enough for us to employ you. Your information will be held confidentially in the medical department and used as a baseline for your medicals, every 3 years.

Call our occupational health department on 01438 847316 if you have any concerns or questions.

Stage 5 - Uniform fitting and training course

The selection process takes several months. If you're successful, we'll email you a timetable for training. You’re paid hourly for attending the course.

You'll be invited to a uniform fitting appointment. Uniforms and equipment are free.

You might be placed on a waiting list of up to 12 months depending on vacancies at stations. You might need to do a re-test when a vacancy is available.

The majority of vacancies need you to be able to give cover on weekdays during the day. This needs to be agreed before you’re offered a place on the training course.

Training programme (PDF 150kb)

Once you're working, there will be opportunities for development and promotion. You can also apply to be a wholetime firefighter.


Rate this page


Like many other websites, we place small information files called 'cookies' on your computer.

Why do we use cookies?

To remember your settings, for example your language and location. This means you don’t have to keep entering these details when you visit a new page.

To find out how you use the site to help us update and improve it.

How do I change my cookie settings?

You can change the settings of your web browser so that it won’t accept cookies. For more information visit

But, doing this may stop you from using some of the online features and services on this website. 

Cookies we use

Cookies do a lot of different jobs, and we use 2 types of cookies:

Required functionality cookies – these cookies are essential for the website to work.

Performance and feature cookies – these cookies help to improve the performance and feel of this website, for example providing you with personalised services.

Take a look at a list of cookies we use on our website:

NameTypeHow we use itHow long we use the information for



Required functionality

An automatic cookie set by our software. 

Just for the time you are on our website.



Required functionality

An automatic cookie set by our software. 

Just for the time you are on our website.


Required functionality

To track the effectiveness of our website using Google Analytics. 

2 years


Performance and feature

To save the pages that you visit by clicking the heart at the top of the page. 

1 month


Performance and feature

This stores your postcode (or partial postcode) when we ask you for your location.

Just for the time you are on our website or 30 days (you choose this).


Performance and feature

This stores your location as a pair of latitude / longitude coordinates.

Just for the time you are on our website or 30 days (you choose this).


Performance and feature

This keeps a history of all answers submitted to the ready reckoner.

This is set in the control for each ready reckoner. If you haven't interacted with the ready reckoner for the set amount of days, the cookies are deleted.


Performance and feature

This keeps a history of what content cards are clicked on when using the ready reckoner.

This is set in the control for each ready reckoner. If you haven't interacted with the ready reckoner for the set amount of days, the cookies are deleted.


Required functionality

This used to track user sessions on forms hosted on

Just for the time you are on our website.

Third party cookies

There are links and content from other sites and services on our website. These sites and services set their own cookies.

Below are a list of cookies that the other sites and services use:

Service namePurposeMore information

Google analytics (_utma/b/c/z)

These are used to compile reports for us on how people use this site.

Cookies of the same names are also used for the same purpose by other websites such as Building FuturesCountryside Management Service and Hertfordshire LIS.

Visit the Google Analytics website for more information about the cookies they use.

You can prevent data from being collected and used by Google Analytics by installing Google's Opt-out Browser Add-on.

Google Translation - googtrans

This cookie is used to remember which language to translate each page into if you have chosen to do so.

It expires at the end of your browser session.


We use a Bing cookie to track the success of our marketing campaigns and make them more efficient.

Visit Bing to find out more about their cookies.


We use a Google cookie to track the success of our marketing campaigns and make them more efficient.

Visit Google to find out more about their cookies.


We have a number of presences on Facebook, which we may link to. Facebook may set some of its own cookies if you follow these links.

Visit Facebook to find out more about their cookies.


We have a number of presences and feeds on Twitter, which you may wish to follow or read from this website. Twitter may set some of its own cookies.

Visit Twitter to find out more about their cookies.


We have a YouTube channel, which we may link to. YouTube may set some of its own cookies if you follow those links.

Visit YouTube to find out more about their cookies.


This ASP.NET_Sessionid cookie is essential for the Netloan secure online payments website to work, and is set when you arrive to the site. This cookie is deleted when you close your browser.



This session cookie is set to let Hotjar know whether that visitor is included in the sample which is used to generate funnels.

Visit HotJar to find out more about their cookies.


These cookies are set to help us report on how people are using the site so we can improve it.

Visit Siteimprove to learn more about their cookies.