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West Midlands Fire Service Brand Bar

Frequently Asked Questions

We get asked lots of questions about a range of subjects. You can search our FAQs, organise them by category or just scroll through!

Search, or browse our FAQs by category



FAQ Categories

FAQ Categories
  • Safety (2)
  • Road Safety (8)
  • Reports and Administration (2)
  • Recruitment (14)
  • Home Safety (3)
  • Fire Safety (6)
  • Emergencies (5)
  • Contact (1)
  • Communities (8)

How can I get in touch about my pension?

We've detailed below information related to pensions for retired members of our service and how you can get information or contact us about them.

Fire Service pensions are payable monthly in advance on the first working day of each month.

Contact details for enquiries

Pension Payroll, Payslip, P60 Queries

Payroll Section
West Midlands Fire Service Headquarters Email:
99 Vauxhall Road,
Birmingham B7 4HW

Telephone No. 0121 380 6972 / 6973 / 6155

Pension Benefit Enquiries / Death Notifications

Pension Section
West Midlands Fire Service Headquarters Email:
99 Vauxhall Road,
Birmingham B7 4HW

Telephone No. 0121 380 6727 / 6932 / 6933

Information about the firefighter's pension scheme can be found online at

For any other enquiries, please visit our contact page and submit a general enquiry.

Tax Queries

HM Revenue and Customs, Tel. 0300 200 3300
Birmingham Solihull Area Service, and ask for Birmingham Solihull Area

City Centre House,
30 Union Street, Fire Pensions

Tax Ref. No. 068/W103
Birmingham B2 4AD

FAQ Category: 
Reports and Administration

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: 

How do I report structures in an unsafe condition or fallen trees or debris?

Dangerous or unsafe structures or buildings

Call us immediately on 999 to report unsafe buildings/other structures and debris which pose a danger to anyone.

Unsafe cladding, advertising boards, roofing or other materials - if the issue can be corrected quickly and safely by the building owner or responsible person, they should attempt to do so.

Our attendance at structures which need making safe, but do not pose an immediate risk, may incur a special service call charge.

Fallen trees

If trees have fallen, or are likely to, and pose a risk to life or significant damage to property, report this via 999 immediately.

Report it to your local council if the tree is not a danger but is obstructing a path or roadway, traffic lights or road signage. Also, call the council if the tree is at risk of falling but not a danger to the public.

Here are the links to West Midlands councils’ information about reporting fallen or dangerous trees:

Birmingham City Council

Coventry City Council

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Wolverhampton City Council

Electricity, water and gas

If you've suffered a power loss due to a fallen tree or debris, you should report this to National Grid by dialling 105 - this is free on all networks. Do not call your electricity supplier. Electricity suppliers sell consumers energy and are not responsible for the power lines that connect to homes or businesses.

If damage has been caused to gas supply, meters or pipes, report this to the National Grid gas emergency line - 0800 111 999 

To report water leaks or water supply issues, contact Severn Trent via their website.

For any other utility issues such as phone, TV, broadband etc please contact your supplier.

FAQ Category: 
Emergencies, Safety

What are the rules for organising a fireworks display?

There is a great deal of advice, guidance and legislation that is relevant to safely operating firework displays.

Recently released are two guides, the Blue Guide and the Red Guide. These replace former Health and Safety Executive guides HSG 123 and HSG 124. The Red Guide is designed for those individuals who are not industry professionals. The Blue Guide is designed for skilled and competent firework display industry professionals.

We've linked the documents below for you. Please note, these documents are correct as of 08/10/21 but any updates since that time may not be reflected. It is the responsibility of individuals to seek out the most recent guidance and legislation to ensure they are operating safely and legally.

Blue Guide - Working together on firework displays

Red Guide - Giving your own firework display

You can find more information about firework licensing and what is required legally for the safe storage of fireworks on our explosives page.

Additional links to helpful guides and legislation around fireworks displays and what may be required are below.

Firework (Safety) Regulations 1997 -
Firework (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2004 -
Managing crowds safely: A guide for organisers at events and venues HSG154 -
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 -
Civil Aviation Authority CAP 736 -
Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 SI 2005/1643 -
Five steps to risk assessment Leaflet INDG163(rev2) -

FAQ Category: 
Fire Safety

Should I keep my car doors locked when driving?

We're often asked if it's safe to keep your car doors locked when you're driving. Often the media reports it's safer to, to prevent carjacking or theft. But some people have concerns that this might impede our ability to rescue you if you're involved in an accident.

With many modern vehicles that feature auto-locking mechanisms, they typically are designed to release when a vehicle is involved in a collision. However, with older vehicles with manual locks, this isn't the case.
We can't advise people specifically what they should do, as it's your choice as the driver to decide what you feel is best. However, we can assure our communities that if anyone was involved in an accident, the door being locked wouldn't stop our crews from being able to get them out. Either through breaking windows or removing the door entirely, we have a range of techniques that would allow us to get you out safely, whether a door is locked or not.
FAQ Category: 
Road Safety

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 with your details and this can be reset for you.

FAQ Category: 

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: 

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: 

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 and they can do this for you.

FAQ Category: 

Do I need to wear a helmet when cycling?

On every journey, always wear a helmet as it will protect your head, significantly reducing the risk of you being killed or seriously injured in the event of an RTC. Visit our road safety page for more details cycling safety advice.

FAQ Category: 
Road Safety
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