Common questions about becoming a wholetime firefighter

Common questions about wholetime firefighting for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue.

Is there an age limit?

Yes. Firefighters must be 18 or over to apply for this position. There is no upper age limit for applying.

How long does the recruitment process take?

The recruitment process can take several months from application to starting employment and training, depending on the timing of vacancies.

What salary can I expect to receive as a firefighter?

A trainee firefighter will earn a salary of £22,237 rising to £29,638 for competent firefighters.

Can I apply to be a firefighter if I have a criminal record?

Yes. Having a criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from becoming a firefighter. 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.

Before an offer of employment is made a disclosure document from the Criminal Records Bureau will be obtained. If, at any stage, a conviction is highlighted that you have not declared, your application will be withdrawn from the recruitment process.

Do I have to be a British citizen?

No. 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.

Can I apply if I don't live in Oxfordshire?

Yes. There is no postcode restriction on application

Can I still become a firefighter if I have a disability?

Yes. Anyone who considers themselves to 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 give details of the type of adjustments you may require in order to take part in the selection process and to fulfil the role of a firefighter, should you be successful. Each case will be considered on an individual basis and if reasonable adjustments can be made to enable you to take part in the selection process and to fulfil the role of a firefighter, then your application will proceed.

I am dyslexic; can I receive support?

Yes. Dyslexia is classed as a disability and you will be asked if you have a disability as part of the recruitment process. You will then be asked to contact us directly so we can discuss any reasonable adjustments, such as additional time to undertake the assessments. You will be required to provide evidence of your dyslexia.

I have a beard for religious reasons; will I have to shave it off in order to be a firefighter?

Unfortunately, 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 facial mask when you are wearing breathing apparatus. To ensure that the mask forms an air-tight seal around the face, it is necessary to keep the face shaven to prevent any dangerous contaminant from entering the facial mask.

My faith requires me to allocate certain times of the day for prayer. Will this be accommodated?

Due to the nature of the role, there may be times when this is not possible. However, we actively support employees who wish to pray at work to balance their individual beliefs with operational needs. Fasting firefighters always ensure that both their colleagues and they remain safe by actively managing their energy and hydration levels where necessary.

Would I be able to keep my dreadlocks?

Yes. Dreadlocks (including braids, cornrows, plaits etc.) like any employee's hair, needs to be kept tidy and not interfere with personal protection firefighting uniform. These rules help keep firefighters safe.

Are the recruitment standards different for men compared to women?

No. The assessments are the same for everyone.

Is it acceptable to have tattoos or piercing?

Yes. However for health and safety reasons all piercings must be removed before coming to work.

Tattoos are acceptable providing they could not be deemed as offensive. Tattoos are unacceptable if they are rude, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic or violent.

How fit do you have to be to become a firefighter?

You will need to be reasonably fit and maintain your fitness levels throughout your career as a firefighter. You will be required to undertake a fitness evaluation to determine your aerobic capacity is at least a VO2 max level of 42.3. You are also required to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

I have a medical condition which I think may exclude me. How do I find out?

There are many medical conditions that will exclude you from joining as a firefighter. We suggest that if you have any condition you are unsure about, the easiest way to get confirmation that it will exclude you is to contact us, email us.

Can I apply if I wear glasses or contact lenses?

Possibly. Firefighters require good vision in both eyes and part of the recruitment process will include an eye test. Our Occupational Health Team will determine whether your vision meets the standards to become a firefighter.

Will being colour blind prevent me from becoming a firefighter?

You should have an appropriate level of colour perception. You will be tested at medical.

What qualifications do I need to apply?

No formal qualifications are required.

Can I choose which station to work at?

No. Candidates will be placed at stations where there are vacancies throughout the county. You may also be required to work at other stations in the county.

Can I have a second job?

Possibly. Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has a policy on secondary employment. Employees cannot engage in this without first obtaining written approval.

I am already a firefighter; how do I apply for this process?

Yes. Applications are welcomed from firefighters that already work for fire and rescue services, are on-call or are a firefighter for another service, for example an airport. You will be required to undertake the full recruitment process.

Do I need a full UK driving licence to apply?

Yes. You will need a full UK licence as you will be required to drive the fire service vehicles.

Am I required to work nights and weekends?

Yes. There are a number of whole-time shift patterns that will require you to work nights and weekends.

If you haven't found the answer to your question, please email us.