On-call firefighters

On-call firefighters provide an efficient and effective emergency service to the communities of Staffordshire. They are ordinary members of the community with an extraordinary job.

Become an on-call firefighter and make a difference in your community.

What is an on-call firefighter?

On-call firefighters are paid employees of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, who provide ‘on-call’ cover to their local fire station and respond to a range of emergencies and incidents as well as community initiatives.

Unlike wholetime firefighters, they aren’t based at the fire station 24 hours a day, so when an emergency occurs, they will be notified by an alerter that they need to go to their fire station within an agreed turn-out time (which is approximately five minutes).

They receive the same thorough and relevant training as wholetime firefighters as they respond to the same fire and rescue emergencies.

Many on-call firefighters already have jobs, whether they’re in full-time or part-time work, self-employed or other and therefore fit in their ‘on-call’ hours around their day-to-day lives. Our on-call firefighters provide approximately 50 hours each week ‘on-call’ cover to their local fire station.

Alerter icon

Alerter goes off

If an emergency is called in during their on-call period, they will be notified by their alerter.

Go To Station icon

Go to fire station

They will then make their way to their local fire station, whether this is from their home or work.

Respond To Emergency icon

Respond to emergency

When at the station, they will then kit up, get in the fire engine and respond to the emergency.

Our on-call fire stations

On-call firefighters need to live or work within an agreed turn-out time of their local fire station so they are able to respond to an emergency from the moment their alerter goes off while driving at normal road speeds. We have a number of on-call stations across the county, some of which are also our wholetime stations.

We are looking for...

The role of an on-call firefighter is unique. You will be a crucial part of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, as well as your local community. While this role is unpredictable, it is also exciting and rewarding so we are looking for...

  • Anyone who is over 18-years-old
  • Someone who has a positive attitude and a willingness to learn new skills
  • Someone who wants to make a valuable and worthwhile contribution to your community
  • Those who live or work close to your local fire station (however applicants will be considered on a case by case basis)
  • People from a range of backgrounds that represents the diversity of our communities
  • People willing to uphold our Core Code of Ethics

And in return...

  • You can earn extra income
  • You will be helping to protect your local community, safe lives and help others
  • You will learn and develop new skills
  • We can be flexible around your other working commitments and day to day life

Recruitment Process

There are a number of stages to the on-call firefighter recruitment process.

Expression Of Interest icon

Stage 1

Expression of interest

Register your interest in becoming an on-call firefighter by contacting your local Retained Support Officer (RSO) who’s details are below.

Availability icon

Stage 2

Declaration of availability

On-call firefighters are required to offer a minimum of 50 hours a week. You will work with your RSO and Station Manager to agree a declaration that is realistic for the service, your fire station and your personal life.

Interview icon

Stage 3

Interview

Your local RSO will arrange to have an interview with you if they feel you’re a suitable candidate.

Fitness icon

Stage 4

Fitness test

This will be undertaken by the Service Fitness Advisor and will involve a bleep test.

Job Related Tests icon

Stage 5

Job Related Test (JRTs)

These are physical tests that you are likely to face in the role such as carrying equipment and ladder climbing

Online test icon

Stage 6

Online test

You’ll have to complete some written tests such as maths and English.

Pre Employment Checks icon

Stage 7

Pre-employment checks

These include a health assessment at our Occupational Health Unit.

Job-related tests

As part of the recruitment process, there are a number of job-related tests that applicants are required to complete. Please see videos below courtesy of Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service that show these tests in action.

Test for manual dexterity
Equipment carrying
Ladder climbing
Casualty evacuation
Enclosed space simulation

Training

On-call firefighters are given full training to ensure they can provide effective and efficient service at an emergency.

After they have gone through the recruitment process, they will start their journey to become a competent firefighter which, in total, will take three years. During these three years, our on-call firefighters will be given all the relevant training including how to handle ladders and hoses, breathing apparatus, road traffic collisions and first aid.

Throughout their training programme, on-call firefighters will still be able to respond to fire and rescue incidents and support the rest of their on-call crew.

Our on-call firefighters are also expected to attend drill sessions once a week to ensure these skills are maintained.

Salary

On-call firefighters are paid employees of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and therefore receive a wage. They receive 18% of a wholetime firefighters pay, as well as a disturbance fee and an hourly rate for any incidents they attend.

However, the salary varies per on-call firefighter depending on a number of factors such as where they are in their training and development process, the amount of ‘on-call’ hours they provide and how many emergency calls they attend. They also receive an hourly rate for positive activities such as community initiatives and attending drill sessions.

Interested?

If you are interested in becoming an on-call firefighter, but have more questions before applying, you can contact your local On-call Support Officer, who look after our on-call fire stations and our on-call firefighters:

Michelle Dudman
Abbots Bromley, Burton-upon-Trent, Barton-under-Needwood, Uttoxeter, Tutbury
Tel: 01785 898787 / 07528 983107
Email: michelle.dudman@staffordshirefire.gov.uk
Tom Mabley
Burslem, Hanley, Kidsgrove, Loggerheads, Newcastle
Tel: 01785 898843 / 07528 983157
Email: thomas.mabley@staffordshirefire.gov.uk
Jordan Fallows
Biddulph, Cheadle, Ipstones, Leek, Longnor
Tel: 01785 898709 / 07967 573522
Email: Jordan.fallows@staffordshirefire.gov.uk
Darren Thompson
Chase Terrace, Lichfield, Penkridge, Rugeley, Tamworth Mercia
Tel: 01785 898693 / 07967 573573
Email: darren.thompson@staffordshirefire.gov.uk
Richard Kissman
Brewood, Codsall, Cannock, Kinver, Wombourne
Tel: 07967 573503 / 01785 898540
Email: richard.kissman@staffordshirefire.gov.uk
Rick Pattison
Eccleshall, Gnosall, Longton, Rising Brook, Stone
Tel: 01785 898694 / 07528 983185
Email: ricki.pattison@staffordshirefire.gov.uk

Alternatively, you can also apply now and complete your application form.

More information

If you still have questions or want more information, we may have the answers in our FAQs. There are also some additional resources that may help with your application.

Are on-call firefighters paid?

Yes – our on-call firefighters are paid employees. Income varies per on-call firefighter depending on where they are in the development programme, how many hours they provide ‘on-call’ cover, if they attend any incidents.

Can I do this around my other commitments?

Yes! Many of our on-call firefighters have primary commitments such as full-time or part-time employment, self-employment, being a student, a stay-at-home parent or even unemployed – so being an on-call firefighter is for to anyone.

Some of our on-call firefighters also have an agreement with their employer which enables them to leave work should they be alerted to attend an incident.

Your availability will be discussed during Stage 2 of the application process with the Station Manager of your fire station and the relevant On-call Support Officer.

How often will I be called out?

Being ‘on-call’ is unpredictable so it’s hard to say exactly how many times a week you’d get called out as it varies depending on a range of factors. Some of our fire stations are busier than others depending on their location.

In the summer, the Fire Service may be dealing with grass fires if it has been hot and dry. Alternatively, if there has been a long period of rain, the Fire Service may be dealing with flooding and rescuing incidents. No two calls are ever the same.

What is an on-call firefighter?

An on-call firefighter is someone who has a primary job but also provides emergency support when required.

What is it like being ‘on-call’? do you need to stay at home or near to home as possible?

You have to stay near the station as much as possible. This could be at home or even a local restaurant, but you need to be in a position to up and leave at any time.

Do on-call firefighters do anything different from full-time firefighters?

They don’t do anything differently from full-time firefighters, the only difference is that are not based at the station for set shifts and they usually have a primary job. Some fit their on-call hours around this, but some employers allow staff to respond to incidents from work.

How often do they work?

On-call firefighters provide cover when at home or work for a minimum of 50 hours a week which can be made up of full days or part of the day/night that fits around your primary employment. You’d also attend the station weekly for training. There is no set maximum of hours but we need you to maintain a healthy work/life balance and also consider your primary employment.

How will I know when to respond to an incident?

When an emergency occurs, on-call firefighters will be notified by an alerter and will need to make their way to the fire station quickly.

Do on-call firefighters get paid?

Yes, you receive a basic ‘retainer’ fee dependant on the number of hours cover you provide and then a positive hourly rate for attending incidents, community work and training.

How much do on-call firefighters get paid?

It depends on how many incidents you attend so it’s hard to predict but may be anything between £300 and £1,000 a month.

What benefits do you get as an on-call firefighter?

As an on-call firefighter, the biggest benefit is making a difference to peoples lives and helping the community. However, there are a number of other benefits that our on-call firefighters receive:

  • Opportunities to progress
  • Maternity and paternity leave
  • You are entitled to four weeks annual leave a year, rising to five after five years’ service
  • Free gym access
  • Option to join Blue Light Card which gives discounts at a range of retailers and venues
  • Access to Employee Assistance Programme which is a 24/7 helpline to assist with personal or professional problems

Is training provided?

Yes – full training is provided.

Is there any training for responding to incidents with blue lights or sirens?

Once you are competent there may be an opportunity to be trained on blue lights if your station needs more drivers.

How long does the training take?

The initial training is completed over 20 weeks on station in 2 hour sessions. You then complete further modules, initially for 2-3 weeks but there is a further 4 weeks of training in your first 3 years.

Will I be able to drive a fire engine?

After you have completed your development (3 years) you can then look to become a driver if the station needs you to.

What progression paths are there/can on-call firefighters get promoted?

Once your development is completed, you can start working towards being in charge at an incident (Incident Commander) or becoming one of the managers (Crew Manager or Watch Manager).

Can I choose which station I work from?

On-call firefighters need to live or work close to an on-call fire station so they are able to respond quickly to emergencies. See list of on-call stations on main webpage.

Do I need any qualifications to apply?

If you don’t already have an English and Maths qualification you will need to complete our online tests. Your Maths and English will be assessed as part of the application process although you won’t be disadvantaged if you don’t already hold the qualifications.

Is a fitness criteria or training required to join the job?

To join you need to participate in a bleep test and we maintain fitness with the Chester treadmill test, which is a brisk paced walking test, which involved a set speed with an increase in incline every few minutes.

Is there an age limit?

You will need to be aged 18 or over (no upper age limit), and will need to pass an eye sight test and a medical screening.

Are there any health requirements that could stop someone from becoming a firefighter?

You are required to complete a medical and your medical history will be taken into account. If you would like to discuss this further you can contact your local on-call support officer.

Do I need permission from my employer to work as an on-call firefighter?

Many of our on-call firefighters fit in their firefighter duties around their primary jobs. Others make arrangements with their employer to leave work should they need to attend an emergency.

If you are employed, we suggest having a conversation with your employer about being allowed to leave work.

How close to a fire station do I need to be?

You need to live or work close to a fire station. You are responding to an emergency so you need to consider how long it would take to get there.

What are the working hours? Minimum/maximum?

We ask that you cover a minimum of 50 hours a week. There is no set maximum but we need you to maintain a healthy work/life balance and also consider your primary employment.

Do you have to be physically fit to become a firefighter?

Yes, you need to maintain your fitness too as we have regular fitness tests.

Will I get paid holiday?

Yes, you will be entitled to 4 weeks holiday a year which rises to 5 after 5 years of service.

Do you need to have a full UK driving license?

No, but you will need to be able to get to a station quickly when required.

How tall do you need to be to become a firefighter?

There is no minimum or maximum height within the Fire and Rescue Service.

I have a disability/medical condition. Can I still become a firefighter?

Yes. A disability is defined by the act as anyone who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. You will be asked if you have a disability as part of the recruitment process and to give details of the type of adjustments you may require in order to take part in the selection process and to fulfill the role of a firefighter, should you be successful. Each case will be considered on an individual basis and, if reasonable adjustments can be made to enable you to take part in the selection process and to fulfill the role of a firefighter, then your application will proceed.

I am dyslexic. Will I be able to cope with the online tests?

Dyslexia is classed as a disability and you will be asked if you have a disability as part of the recruitment process. When you get to the timed online tests you will be asked if you suffer with dyslexia and you should answer "yes". You will then be given additional time to undertake the assessments. You will be required to provide evidence of your dyslexia.

I wear glasses/ have had laser eye surgery. Can I apply?

Yes. Firefighters require good vision in both eyes and part of the recruitment process will include an eye test. However you will need to meet the standards of vision which requires a minimum uncorrected vision (i.e. without glasses) of 6/18 in the better eye and 6/24 in the worse eye and corrected vision (i.e. with glasses), should be 6/9 binocularly, and a minimum of 6/12 in the worse eye. You should also have an upper hypermetropic limit of +3.00. You will be required to provide us with evidence of your current eyesight standard during the recruitment process so, if you have any concerns, we suggest that you have an up to date eye test to check your own standard of vision before applying.