Orange Triangle

Frequently Asked Questions for On-call Firefighters

Some common questions we get asked are answered below. To get more information, why not come to one of our taster days?

  • How tall do I have to be to be a firefighter?

    There are no height restrictions to become a firefighter!

  • Can I be a firefighter if I have children?

    Of course you can! It’s perfectly normal for a firefighter to have children.

  • Do I have to be really fit to be a firefighter?

    Not entirely true, although we have our baseline requirements which will need to be passed.

  • Am I too old to be a firefighter?

    There is currently no upper age limit in place, however you will need to be able to pass the annual fitness tests.

  • Am I too young to be a firefighter?

    Applicants must be 18 when starting their role as a firefighter, however, they can begin the application process at 17 or older as long as they turn 18 by their job start date.

  • Who can be an on call firefighter

    There are no boundaries relating to gender, ethnic background or Identity Suffolk welcome all applications. On Call Firefighter will need to work and/or live within 5 to 8 minutes from their closest Fire station. Each station may have different needs with regards to the number of hours you will need to be on call and available ready to respond to your alerter. To help stations manage their appliance availability we ask on call firefighters to complete an ‘ availability form’ please download and send in with your application.

    View our availability form here
  • If I wear glasses can I still sign up?

    Candidates who believe they have colour blindness may wish to be formally assessed prior to submitting an application form. The minimum standard accepted is the Farnsworth D-15 standard test. We also conduct functional tests as part of the medical process if candidates display difficulties with colour perception. Candidates must also pass the Ishihara test.

    The vision standards for eyesight are:

    Visual Acuity

    • Use of aids to vision should be possible at the recruit stage
    • Corrected visual acuity should be 6/9 binocularly, and a minimum of 6/12 in the worse eye
    • The minimum uncorrected vision for recruits should be 6/18 in the better eye and 6/24 in the worse eye for both full time and retained firefighters
    • The current 6/60 unaided limit should be retained for serving firefighters
    • An upper hypermetropic limit of +3.00
    • Testing for myopic corrections is no longer required
    • VA testing protocols must be better defined (e.g. for Snellen, distances, ambient lighting and use)
    • Vision must be binocular
    • Be able to read N12 at 30cm unaided with both eyes open (applicants aged 25 and over)
    • Be able to read N6 at 30cm unaided with both eyes open (applicants under 25 years of age)
  • Who can apply to be a firefighter?

    There are no boundaries relating to gender, ethnic background or Identity. Suffolk welcomes all applications.

  • What are the other benefits of being a firefighter?

    Throughout your career, you will be presented opportunities to progress for promotion, work within various departments, such as community prevention, protection, fire safety and have the opportunity to gain instructor tickets in various skill sets.

  • What accommodations do you make for applicants who require them?

    As an applicant, if you live with some form of neurodiversity (e.g. dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD) we are able to accommodate this as part of the application process.

    This can include adjustments such as:

    • Extra time
    • Early access to content for pre-reading
    • Different coloured paper
    • PDF or E-Reader access.

    Need for these accommodations should be made known to the recruitment team at the earliest possible opportunity.

    Any further accommodations or neurodiversity needs will require a conversation with the recruitment team.

  • What staff networks do we use?

    Suffolk County Council staff networks

    Suffolk County Council is proud to have a number of active staff networks supporting and promoting groups of staff, councillors and partners that share similar characteristics, life experiences, values and beliefs.
    Networks influence the organisation to be more inclusive, through work on policy, service development, training, communications, events, culture and have a seat at Suffolk County Council’s Strategic Equalities and Inclusion Board. The staff networks are run by our staff, councillors, and other public sector partners:

    • Black and Asian network
    • Christian Fellowship
    • The disABILITY! network
    • Mental Health network
    • SCC LGBT+ staff network
    • Vegan Network
    • Women’s staff network
    • Young Adults’ network

    Staff networks within Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service:

Frequently Asked Questions for Wholetime Firefighters

Some common questions we get asked are answered below. To get more information, why not come to one of our taster days?

  • How tall do I have to be to be a firefighter?

    There are no height restrictions to become a firefighter!

  • Can I be a firefighter if I have children?

    Of course you can! It’s perfectly normal for a firefighter to have children.

  • What will my day to day job look like as a firefighter?

    Once you have arrived for your day shift, you’ll start by checking breathing apparatus along with various equipment. This will be followed by some community fire safety work and general admin. This may include putting up smoke alarms or checking on high-risk premises. In between this, there may be call-outs during the day.

  • Do I have to be really fit to be a firefighter?

    Not entirely true, although we have our baseline requirements which will need to be passed.

  • What do you earn as a firefighter?

    During initial training course: £24,191

    During probation period (minimum 2 years): £25,198

    After successful completion of probation period: £32,244

  • Am I too old to be a firefighter?

    There is currently no upper age limit in place, however you will need to be able to pass the annual fitness tests.

  • Am I too young to be a firefighter?

    Applicants must be 18 when starting their role as a firefighter, however, they can begin the application process at 17 or older as long as they turn 18 by their job start date.

     

  • Who can be a firefighter?

    There are no boundaries relating to gender, ethnic background or Identity Suffolk welcome all applications.

  • How do the shifts work?

    The wholetime fire stations within Suffolk and which shift system they follow. Suffolk run 2 different shift systems:

    • 24-hour shift system: 2 day shifts – 2 night shifts – 4 days off. This is spread over 4 watches within a station. White, Red, Blue & Green watch.
    • Day Crewed: 1 watch working Monday – Friday daytime hours. No weekends or public holidays.

    24-hour shift stations within Suffolk:

    • Lowestoft South
    • Ipswich East
    • Ipswich Princes Street
    • Bury St Edmunds

    Day Crewed stations within Suffolk:

    • Newmarket
    • Haverhill

    On-call stations are around the county which may be looking to recruit & to check within their local town/village. 

  • If I wear glasses can I still sign up?

    Candidates who believe they have colour blindness may wish to be formally assessed prior to submitting an application form. The minimum standard accepted is the Farnsworth D-15 standard test. We also conduct functional tests as part of the medical process if candidates display difficulties with colour perception. Candidates must also pass the Ishihara test.

    The vision standards for eyesight are:

    Visual Acuity

    • Use of aids to vision should be possible at the recruit stage
    • Corrected visual acuity should be 6/9 binocularly, and a minimum of 6/12 in the worse eye
    • The minimum uncorrected vision for recruits should be 6/18 in the better eye and 6/24 in the worse eye for both full time and retained firefighters
    • The current 6/60 unaided limit should be retained for serving firefighters
    • An upper hypermetropic limit of +3.00
    • Testing for myopic corrections is no longer required
    • VA testing protocols must be better defined (e.g. for Snellen, distances, ambient lighting and use)
    • Vision must be binocular
    • Be able to read N12 at 30cm unaided with both eyes open (applicants aged 25 and over)
    • Be able to read N6 at 30cm unaided with both eyes open (applicants under 25 years of age)
  • Who can apply to be a firefighter?

    There are no boundaries relating to gender, ethnic background or Identity. Suffolk welcomes all applications.

  • What are the other benefits of being a firefighter?

    Throughout your career, you will be presented opportunities to progress for promotion, work within various departments, such as community prevention, protection, fire safety and have the opportunity to gain instructor tickets in various skill sets.

  • What accommodations do you make for applicants who require them?

    As an applicant, if you live with some form of neurodiversity (e.g. dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD) we are able to accommodate this as part of the application process.

    This can include adjustments such as:

    • Extra time
    • Early access to content for pre-reading
    • Different coloured paper
    • PDF or E-Reader access.

    Need for these accommodations should be made known to the recruitment team at the earliest possible opportunity.

    Any further accommodations or neurodiversity needs will require a conversation with the recruitment team.

  • What will the application form involve?

    The application will have a selection of questions of which your answers will be marked around the NFCC leadership framework. To learn more click here.