On-call firefighter FAQs

Here are some Frequently asked questions that you may find useful when learning about the role of on-call firefighter.

How close do I need to be to my local fire station?

Ideally you should live and/or work within approximately five minutes of your local on-call fire station to allow you to respond in time to meet the agreed attendance levels. Any response to the station is constrained by current driving legislation and adherence to speed limits, traffic signals and so on.

There are links to all of our on-call fire stations on the Your Area homepage.

What is cover?

‘Cover’ is the time during the week that you would be available to respond to your local on-call fire station in an emergency. You can commit to ‘full’ or ‘part’ cover, the choice is yours.

Part cover firefighters are required to be available for an average of 84 hours out of an available 168 hours within any seven day period. This average is calculated over a 12 week period. Full cover firefighters must be available for an average of 120 hours out of the available 168 hours within any seven day period. This average is also calculated over a 12 week period.

The decision to bring you forward for assessment will, in part, be based on the cover you are offering and it is therefore important you are clear about the cover you are able to give, i.e. evening, daytime and or weekend cover. Your cover will be agreed before any offer of employment is made and will form part of your employment contract.

How often will I be called out?

On average you’ll be called out about 2-3 times a week dependant on your station area. In hot summers you may be busy with grass fires. Alternatively, during prolonged wet periods, you may attend flooding incidents. No two calls are ever the same!

Can I go shopping/visiting/out whilst on call?

Yes, but you must make sure that you carry your pager and that you can still get to the station within 5 minutes. If you need to go further afield you will need to book off-call. Please remember whilst you are on call you must be fit for duty.

What if I can’t do the same hours every week or I need to change the hours I do?

You need to commit to your contracted hours but there will be some flexibility depending on the availability of the rest of the team to change hours of cover.

I have a medical condition, can I still apply?

We employ firefighters who have medical conditions, however there are some significant medical conditions which could potentially preclude you from becoming a firefighter. If you wish to discuss this confidentially contact Human Resources for advice. Whilst HR can provide general advice the final decision can only be made by our Occupational Health Doctor. If invited to a medical you will be required to complete a health questionnaire which will assist the doctor in determining if you are fit to safely become a firefighter.

What are the eyesight standards?

If you have any concerns about your eyesight or colour vision you should check if you are likely to meet the required standards with your optician.

What are the hearing standards?

Your hearing will be assessed during your medical. The following summative measures are used to assign an overall score for each ear (H1, H2, H3, H4 and H5). The worse ear is used for recruitment purposes, with levels H1 and H2 being acceptable. If you have any concerns about your hearing you should check if you are likely to meet the required standards with your GP or arrange a test through a private hearing test provider (eg Boots, Specsavers).

 LF SumHF SumSpeech Sum
H1≤ 45 dB HL≤ 45 dB HL≤ 35 dB HL
H2≤ 60 dB HL≤ 80 dB HL≤ 60 dB HL (no value > 25 dB HL)
H3≤ 80 dB HL≤ 120 dB HL≤ 90 dB HL (no value > 40 dB HL)
H4< 120 dB HL≤ 150 dB HL≤ 120 dB HL
H5> 120 dB HL> 150 dB HL> 120 dB HL

I have a criminal conviction, will this prevent me from applying?

As part of this role, you will be required to undertake an enhanced DBS check. This will identify any spent and unspent convictions and cautions, a review of any Police intelligence and barred list.

Some spent and unspent convictions and cautions may preclude you from the role of wholetime/on-call Firefighter. Should you have any questions then please contact a member of our Human Resources department: [email protected]

I have points on my driving licence, can I still apply?

We will accept three points on your licence for minor offences. Your driving licence will be checked with the DVLA with your consent if you are offered a position.

Where does the training take place?

Initial familiarisation training will take place at your local fire station on their drill night each week (1900-2100 hours), for four weeks (see table below).

Firefighter core training takes place at the Severn Park Fire & Rescue Training Centre in Avonmouth, Bristol. Accommodation can be provided.

Will I be paid for attending training?

Yes. You will be provided with the necessary forms to complete so that payment can be made into your bank account.

When is my stations drill night?

Drill nights take place each week from 1900-2100 hours. See table below. 

StationDrill NightStationDrill Night
02 ThornburyMonday18 Weston-super-MareMonday
03 YateMonday19 YattonWednesday
07 PortisheadWednesday20 Chew MagnaMonday
08 PillMonday21 RadstockThursday
12 BathThursday22 PaultonThursday
16 NailseaWednesday23 BlagdonMonday
17 ClevedonMonday24 WinscombeMonday

I am dyslexic, will I still be able to apply?

If you are dyslexic you can still apply. You must indicate that you are dyslexic where prompted on your application form so that reasonable adjustments can be considered for you. When you reach the written tests stage, you may be provided with extra time to take the tests if this is supported by evidence of your dyslexia, which must be from an appropriate specialist.

Page last updated