FIREFIGHTER RECRUITMENT

Our firefighters make up the majority of our workforce. Their role is a varied one, attending emergency incidents involving fires, road traffic collisions, water rescue, entrapments and more. Equally important is the prevention and protection work, part of our ‘upstream firefighting’ this work aims to prevent fires before they happen by supporting and engaging with the communities and businesses.

Read on down to see if being a firefighter is the role for you!

Introduction

Requirements

To become a West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) firefighter you must:

 be at least 18 years old at the time you apply

 live in the area covered by WMFS (please note that postcode and proof of address will be required).

 be physically fit to meet the requirements of the role

We’re actively encouraging applications from female candidates and from members of the West Midlands’ black, Asian and ethnic minority communities. These groups are under-represented in our organisation, and it’s important to us that our workforce reflects the diversity of our communities as much as possible. But the process is, of course, open to all. You can read more about this in our positive action section.

What’s involved?

Traditionally, firefighters are seen as dealing with fires and rescuing people from burning buildings.

But the majority of the work that firefighters are involved in is community fire safety work. This ‘prevention’ work recognises that the best way of fighting fire is to stop it from starting in the first place – mainly by educating and informing the public

As a firefighter you will find yourself involved with schools, community volunteer groups, and other organisations. Being able to communicate effectively with a wide variety of people is important, as is treating people with dignity and respect, irrespective of their backgrounds and cultures.

They also need to deal sensitively with members of the public when they are distressed and confused and be able to solve problems using relevant information. Your initiative and empathy is very important.

For more details about recruitment, please view the Role of a Firefighter webpage, or contact our Diversity, Inclusion, Cohesion and Equality Team by e-mailing opportunities@wmfs.net

To apply, ensure you have read all the information on our website, then go to https://www.beafirefighter.co.uk/

Is it for me?

Role of a Firefighter

Hover over or press/click each category to see what it involves!

Prevention and Education

  • prevent fire and accidents from starting in the first place
  • working empathetically to help and care for people in whatever capacity.
  • delivering Safe and Well visits and advising people about risks to their safety, health and wellbeing.

Working within the community

  • support the community by visiting schools, community centres and people in their own homes – in fact, anywhere our fire safety message can be delivered
  • actively seeking to understand and to value diverse individuals and groups, working with some of the most vulnerable members of our communities
  • school and nursery visits where we deliver bespoke safety education. 

Training and Development

  • undertake a continuous training programme of lectures, exercises, practical training sessions and other forms of training to maintain competency levels 
  • take responsibility for developing your own skills 
  • ensuring your fitness levels are maintained, as the work can be both physically and mentally demanding. 

Responding to Emergencies

  • respond immediately and safely to all emergency calls 
  • minimise distress and suffering, including giving first aid 
  • dealing with many kinds of emergencies, including pumping out flooded premises, chemical spillages, providing casualty care and extraction at road traffic accidents and rescuing people who are trapped in buildings or lifts.

Training and development

As a firefighter with West Midlands Fire Service, you’ll be on a journey of continuous learning, training and personal development.

After successfully completing the recruitment and selection process, you will get a date for your initial 8-week firefighter training course on which you’ll be expected to absorb a large amount of practical and theoretical information and material.

The practical side of the course focuses on using breathing apparatus, hoses, ladders, hydraulic rescue equipment, fire-fighting techniques, first aid and trauma management.

The theoretical side of the course involves a strong emphasis on the prevention work you’ll be doing, learning how we support the health agenda, first aid and trauma management and working with the most vulnerable members of our community.

The course is intensive, requiring dedication and commitment. Studying in your own time, at night and at weekends, must be expected. Your progress will be continually monitored and assessed, both practically and theoretically.

On successful completion of your initial training course you’ll be posted to a fire station. We’ll do our best to allocate you a station near to where you live. However, your contract will state that you must be prepared to serve anywhere within the area we cover. Once posted to a station, you’ll be developing the skills you have gained throughout your eight-week training course and you will continue to be assessed.

Salary and benefits

There are many benefits to working for West Midlands Fire Service – job satisfaction and an extensive career structure, just for starters.

We also offer real promotion prospects. To progress, you’ll need to develop your skills and demonstrate a level of competency within your current role, before taking part in an assessment centre and interview process to determine your suitability for the next role.

Any skills gained from qualifications or experience you bring into the service may be relevant when you’re working towards a promotion or looking to move into a specialised role.

Annual leave

A firefighter has 22 days’ annual leave a year, with an additional 3 days after five years of service, plus 8 Bank Holidays.

Pension

The firefighter pension scheme is an excellent benefit on retirement. A firefighter contributes 10% of their salary a month into the scheme.

Salary

The current salary for a newly-appointed firefighter after completing initial training is around £22,000 rising to £29,000 when competent.

Occupational health

The physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of all of our staff is paramount, so we can provide an excellent emergency service to our communities.

Our Occupational Health team offers a friendly, confidential service for all employees. We have qualified occupational health practitioners, a fitness adviser and qualified administrators who all work in the health and welfare area. They promote and maintain good physical and mental health, and provide periodic health reviews, fitness and welfare advice and confidential counselling. Services include employee discount schemes, physiotherapy, pre-retirement courses, critical incident debriefing and access to the facilities of The Fire Fighters Charity.

Equality and diversity

We recognise that many people, particularly those from minority communities and women, experience inequality in society and the workplace. This is why we try to lead by example, taking individual and organisational steps to challenge prejudice and remove discrimination, and actively promoting a working environment which is conducive to good working relationships and which will ultimately benefit the communities we serve.

West Midlands Fire Service will not discriminate on any grounds that cannot be justified, including: disability, marital status, gender or gender reassignment, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, maternity/paternity, race or trade union membership.

We will also ensure that appropriate resources and training will be allocated to ensure that managers and staff are aware of their professional and personal responsibilities to each other and to the public they serve.

Our commitment to the ‘Public Sector Duties’ under the Equality Act 2010 and our own Core Values underpin all decisions we take and all actions of our employees in all areas of work including recruitment, employment and service delivery.

All employees are bound by our Core Values, Code of Conduct and Dignity at Work policy.

We encourage employees to recognise that equality is not about treating everybody the same but recognising we are all individuals and unique in our own way. Equality and fairness are about recognising, accepting and valuing people’s unique individuality according to their needs. This often means that individuals may be treated differently, yet fairly, based on their needs.

For our full diversity policy and details on how we use positive action in our service, see our documents section for details.