Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the minimum and maximum age for joining to become a firefighter?

The minimum age before you can join the fire service is 18 years old at the start of the training course. There is no maximum age.

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

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

How long does the recruitment process take?

The recruitment process can take many months. It could take a year from application to actually commencing employment, depending on the timing of vacancies.

What salary can I expect to receive as a firefighter?

A trainee firefighter will earn a salary of £22,237 rising to £29,638.

I have a criminal record. Can I still apply and join as a firefighter?

Having a criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from becoming a firefighter. You are required to declare any convictions for offences that are not spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This includes any offences dealt with by a court of law, HM Services disciplinary procedures and any driving offences.

Before an offer of employment is made a disclosure document from the Criminal Records Bureau may be obtained. If, at any stage, a conviction is highlighted that you have not declared, your application will be withdrawn from the recruitment process.

Do I have to be a British Citizen?

You can be of any nationality to apply, provided that you have the permanent right to remain without restriction in the UK. EU citizens are automatically eligible to apply.

You will be required to supply evidence of your right to work in the UK during the recruitment process.

Can I apply if I don't live in Gloucestershire?

The full time recruitment at this time stipulates that applicants must live within 15km of the Gloucestershire border. Proof of address will be required at the time of application.

I have a disability; can I still become a firefighter?

Yes. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 has now been amended and the role of firefighter is no longer exempt from the Act. This means that anyone who considers themselves to have a disability can apply to join the fire service.

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; can I receive support?

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 written tests you will be asked if you suffer with dyslexia and you should answer "yes". You will then be asked to contact us directly so as we can discuss any reasonable adjustments, such as additional time to undertake the assessments. You will be required to provide evidence of your dyslexia.

I have a beard for religious reasons; will I have to shave it off in order to be a firefighter?

Unfortunately yes. The Service respects everyone's religious beliefs but there are health and safety reasons as to why facial hair cannot be accepted.

As a firefighter you will be required to wear a facial mask when you are wearing breathing apparatus. To ensure that the mask forms an air-tight seal around the face, it is necessary to keep the face shaven to prevent any dangerous contaminant from entering the facial mask.

My faith requires me to allocate certain times of the day for prayer. Will this be accommodated?

Due to the nature of the role, there may be times when this is not possible. However, we actively support employees who wish to pray at work to balance their individual beliefs with operational needs. Fasting firefighters always ensure that both their colleagues and they remain safe by actively managing their energy and hydration levels where necessary.

Would I be able to keep my dreadlocks?

Yes. Dreadlocks (including braids, cornrows, plaits etc.) like any employee's hair, needs to be kept tidy and not interfere with your personal protection fire fighting uniform. These rules help keep fire fighters safe.

Are the recruitment standards different for men compared to women?

No. The assessments are the same for both genders.

Is it acceptable to have tattoos or piercing?

For health and safety reasons, all piercings must be removed before commencing operational duty.

Tattoos are acceptable providing they could not be deemed as offensive. Tattoos are unacceptable if they are rude, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic or violent.

Why is there a requirement to swim?

Water rescue is a specialist role which you may be asked to perform. The essential criteria requires you to be able to swim and be confident in water.

How fit do you have to be to become a firefighter?

You will need to be reasonably fit and maintain your fitness levels throughout your career as a firefighter. You will be required to undertake a fitness evaluation to determine your aerobic capacity is at least a VO2 max level of 42. You are also required to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

I have a medical condition which I think may exclude me. How do I find out?

There are many medical conditions that will exclude you from joining as a firefighter. We suggest that if you have any condition you are unsure about, the easiest way to get confirmation that it will exclude you is to contact us.

I wear glasses or 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. Our Occupational Health Team will determine whether your vision meets the standards to become a firefighter.

Will being colour blind prevent me from becoming a firefighter?

You should have an appropriate level of colour perception. The recommended test procedure uses the Ishihara test as the initial screen, with two additional tests if the applicant fails the screening, to determine the severity and type of colour vision deficiency.

What qualifications do I need to become a firefighter?

You do not need to have any formal qualifications.

Can I choose which Station to work at?

Candidates will be placed at Stations where there are vacancies. Firefighters may also be required to transfer and work at other stations in the County.

Can I have a second job?

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service has a policy on secondary employment. Employees cannot engage in this without first obtaining written approval.

If you haven't found the answer to your question please email GFRS@gloucestershire.gov.uk