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Firefighter Career FAQs

We get asked a range of questions about becoming a firefighter and what's involved, we've tried to answer as many as we can here.

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How many firefighter training courses per year are there?

We operate a rolling recruitment programme, running five trainee firefighter courses a year.

We aim to recruit around 80 new firefighters annually to serve our communities.

Due to our rolling programme, our recruitment is always open currently and you can apply via our Become a firefighter page

FAQ Category: 
Recruitment

If I'm not successful in applying to be a firefighter, when can I apply again?

If you were unsuccessful in an application to be a firefighter with us, you can apply again in 12 months from your notification from us that you were not successful.

Due to the application process requiring a national insurance number, which you would have already entered on your previous application, the system may show an error stating the NI number has already been used. If you experience this difficulty, please email our recruitment team at opportunities@wmfs.net with your details and this can be reset for you.

FAQ Category: 
Recruitment

What shift patterns do firefighters work?

Most of our operational firefighters work a standard shift pattern from 08:00 until 18:00 on a 'tour' of two days, two nights then four days off.

Each crew typically has 4 watches, which are identified by different colours - Red, Green, Blue and White.

Each core watch follows the same pattern of two days, two nights then four days off, but the starting days are staggered for each watch so we have cover 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

For example, Red Watch might start their tour on Monday, Green Watch would start on Wednesday and so on.

We also have 'lates' crews that work at some of our stations and they work 4 days on and 4 days off, working 10:00-22:00 each working day. The 'lates' watch colours are Orange and Purple.

FAQ Category: 
Recruitment

How long is the wait for firefighter applications to be processed?

Our recruitment process is done in cycles, so there can be a wait time of up to 8-10 weeks between each cycle. While we work as quickly as we can to process the different stages of application, assessment days and so on, we get a large number of applicants so different stages can take longer than expected. If you have sent in an application, please be patient.

We apologise for any delay and rest assured the team will be in touch as soon as they can.

FAQ Category: 
Recruitment

What if my national insurance number has already been used to apply?

When trying to apply to be a firefighter for us, you need to enter a national insurance number. If you've applied before, you may get an error saying your national insurance number has already been used and won't allow you to continue.

Our teams can unlock this for you, provided the appropriate time has passed since your previous application. Please email your details and the issue you're experiencing to opportunities@wmfs.net and they can do this for you.

FAQ Category: 
Recruitment

Can you drink or smoke at fire stations or fire service premises?

We have a policy which prohibits the use of drugs, alcohol and smoking in all of our premises.

FAQ Category: 
Recruitment

Can I have a second job when working at the fire service?

We have a policy on secondary employment. Employees can’t have a second job without first obtaining written approval from us.

FAQ Category: 
Recruitment

Can you be a firefighter with eyesight issues, colour blindness or previous eye surgery?

Eyesight standards for firefighters are as follows and it is to the standard for LGV (Group 2) driver requirements and to National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) standards:

  • Corrected visual acuity should be 6/7.5 in the good eye and 6/12 in the worse eye
  • uncorrected vision for trainees should be 6/36 binocularly (both eyes)
  • an upper hypermetropic limit of +3.00
  • ability to read N12 letters at 30cm unaided (applicants aged 25 and over)
  • ability to read N6 at 30cm unaided (applicants under 25 years of age)
  • no history of night blindness or any ocular disease that is likely to progress and result in future failure of the visual standards for firefighters.

You must also pass a test to see if you are colour blind.

Laser Eye Surgery Standards

If you have had eye laser surgery, you must wait 6-12 months before applying to allow for stabilisation.

If you have undergone laser eye surgery, a report should be requested from the treating ophthalmologist to include the following details:

  • Confirmation that the eye has returned to normal and that there is no significant loss of corneal transparency over the pupil area
  • confirmation that there is no keratectasia
  • details of their pre-operative refractive error and any complications that may have occurred during or following the procedure with confirmation that the post-operative corneal thickness does not put them at increased risk from indirect trauma or from rubbing the eyes
  • confirmation that they do not have significant sensitivity to scattered light and that they retain good low-light performance.
FAQ Category: 
Recruitment
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