JOBS: Spark into action as firefighter

A FIREFIGHTER’S role is to protect people — and property — from fire and other dangers.

They provide emergency support. They also specialise in education and advice on fire prevention.

A firefighter must have the ability to react quickly and remain calm when faced with potentially life-threatening danger.

As a firefighter, you would provide emergency services such as controlling and putting out fires, dealing with bomb alerts, rescuing victims from burning buildings, accident sites and other dangerous positions, and managing chemical or hazardous-substance spills.

The fire prevention side of your job would involve giving presentations to schools and other community groups, inspecting buildings to make sure that they meet fire-safety regulations and advising construction professionals on fire-safety measures before and during the construction of buildings.

You would also have routine station duties, such as inspecting, cleaning and maintaining equipment, carrying out practice drills and taking part in training. If you reach senior officer rank, you would be responsible for writing detailed reports of incidents, and carrying out management and policy work.

You could work full-time or as a part-time (retained) firefighter. If you are full-time, you will usually work 42 hours a week, which includes day and night shifts to cover a 24-hour service.

As a retained firefighter, you would usually be based in rural areas or smaller towns. You may have another job but you would make yourself available in emergencies.

This job can be stressful and physically demanding, and you will often work in very uncomfortable locations, for example at heights or in enclosed spaces. Firefighters earn between £21,000 and £28,200 a year.

Crew managers earn around £31,300 a year, and station managers earn between £36,000 and £40,100 a year.

Retained firefighters are paid a fee of around £2,500 a year and receive additional payments, according to their rank, for each call they attend and for any extra duties that they carry out.

Each fire service sets its own entry requirements. You will need to contact the recruitment officer at the service you want to join for details of requirements and when they are recruiting.

In general, you will need a good standard of education — some brigades will prefer you to have GCSEs or equivalent and a reasonable level of physical fitness, which will be assessed by a full medical examination and physical tests.

As a new firefighter, you will take part in a full-time induction training programme. This lasts between 12 and 16 weeks.

When you have completed your induction training, you will join a fire station for a probationary period of two years.