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

Potentially, but all applicants have to provide an optician’s report. The eyesight standards we provide to opticians are as follows:

Corrected visual acuity should be ‘6/9’ binocularly and a minimum of ‘6/12’ in the weaker eye. The minimum uncorrected vision for recruits should be ‘6/8’ in the better eye and ‘6/24’ in the weaker eye.

An upper ‘hypermetric’ limit of +3.00. Ability to read ‘N12’ at 30cm unaided with both eyes open (for applicants aged 25 and over).

Ability to read ‘N6’ at 30cm unaided with both eyes open (for applicants aged under 25).

No history of night blindness or any ocular disease that is likely to progress and result in failure of the visual standards for firefighters.

Colour Vision

An ‘Ishihara’ test should be used and include all plates, not just the numbers, and it must be performed under suitable lighting conditions (‘Standard Illuminant C’).

For those who fail the ‘Ishihara Plates’ the ‘Farnsworth D15’ test is recommended. The ‘Nagel Anomaloscope’ test (and City University computer based ‘MCV’ test) may also be required, as they are the only techniques that can distinguish between ‘Protanomalous’ and ‘Deuteranomalous’ individuals.

The optician will also be asked whether you have undergone any significant surgery to either eye, including implants or radical ‘Keratotomy’. Please note that laser eye treatment is considered on an individual basis.

The report will be forwarded to our Occupational Health Department for a decision as to your suitability for the role of a firefighter.

Would a criminal record prevent me from applying?

Not necessarily. If you have a conviction, then a panel will consider the nature of the conviction, its relevance to the role you are applying for, the sentence, any pattern of offending and the length of time since the offence.

You will be informed if a panel is to be convened and will have the opportunity to provide additional information in a supporting statement.

An assessment will then be carried out to identify the risks to us as an organisation, our business, customers, clients and employees. The panel will decide if your application can proceed, and this is usually at an early stage in the recruitment process.