Safest People, Safest Places

Firefighter Recruitment Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some FAQs that you may find helpful.  Please refer to these before you contact us with a query.

The Process

What is the recruitment process?

We are pleased to confirm the final schedule is as follows:

9-13 July 2018

Stage 1.  Registration. Job preview and eligibility screening

This stage will be open between 09:00 and 23:59 

16 – 18 July 2018

Stage 2.  Behavioural style questionnaire. 

This stage will be open between 09:00 and 23:59 

20-23 July 2018

Stage 3.  Situational judgement questionnaire. 

This stage will be open between 09:00 and 23:59 

25-30 July 2018

Stage 4.  Ability tests (numerical, mechanical & verbal)

This stage will be open between 09:00 and 23:59 

6-10 August 2018

Stage 5.  Role related tests

20-31 August 2018

Stage 6.  Competency based interview. 

10-14 September 2018

Stage 7.  Occupational Health Medical. 

17-28 September 2018

Stage 8.  Pre-employment checks

29 October 2018

Start date

You will notice that Stages 1 to 4 are completed online. Those stages are open from 9am on the first day until 23:59 on the final day of each stage.  This means that you have an opportunity to complete those sessions at a time that is convenient to you. 

If there is a high volume of people logging in at the same time, the system will be overloaded.  You are therefore advised that peak times are likely to be between: 09:00-10:00, 12:00-13:40 and 17:00-19:00 each day.  As such, you might prefer to log in outside of those peak times.


Will you tell me when Registration opens or when I can complete each stage?

We will not notify you when Registration opens.  We will upload the link to the Registration Portal on the ‘Firefighters’ page before Registration opens on the 9th July 2018. 

If you successfully pass the Eligibility Screening (part of Registration), you will be sent a link and log-in details for Stages 2-4.  Please keep these safe.  Check your Spam folder if you are expecting to receive your log-ins but they don’t arrive in your inbox.  You can then complete each of the other stages within the dates and times stated.  Further details are contained within the Information Booklet


What information do I need to register? 

You will need your national insurance number and a personal e-mail address (because that is how we will communicate with you and the e-mails will contain details on how to access your personal information).  N.B. you can only register once, so please ensure all the information is correct before you submit.  There will be no opportunity to amend the information that you have provided.


How many posts are there and in what locations?

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) are seeking to recruit 20 wholetime (fulltime) firefighters to start in October 2018.  TWFRS may recruit more wholetime firefighters in 2019 and those people will be appointed from the list who had successfully completed the recruitment process in 2018, but who, due to numbers, we were unable to appoint at the time.  This list is called a candidate pool.  

The candidate pool will be shared with County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS), and Northumbria Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) who may also be recruiting in 2019.


I have already been successful for the process last year – do I need to re-apply?

This is a new recruitment process which includes 3 services and therefore you will need to re-apply and go through the testing again.


Are you accepting inter-service transfers or retained to wholetime transfers?

We have different strategies for recruiting and on this occasion, we are not accepting transfers.  You can apply for the process, however you will be in post as a new appointment.


I will be on holiday for some of the stages, can the dates be changed?

Due to the volume of applications we are expecting and because we require those who have been appointed to start on the same day, we do not have any flexibility to change the dates.  However, it is worth noting that stages 1-4 are completed online.


Can I complete the test on my mobile phone or tablet?

You are advised not to use a mobile phone or tablet to complete the tests. The following browsers are compatible with the online testing system:

* Internet Explorer 9 and above

* Firefox 4.0 and above

* Google Chrome 10.0 and above

* Safari 5 and above (Mac and PC)

Your browser should also have JavaScript and Cookies enabled.  The tests are designed to be viewed with a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768 pixels.


Can I retake the tests if I lose internet connection or if I am not happy with my score?

No.  You will need to ensure that your internet connection is reliable.  Unfortunately, you have only one opportunity to take each test.


I have a disability, what reasonable adjustments can you make for me?

Please contact us by emailing: and in the Subject Field write ‘reasonable adjustment’.  We will contact you to discuss your individual condition and needs.  All requests will be dealt with on a case by case basis.


What qualifications will I need to apply for the role of firefighter?

No formal qualifications are required however applicants are required to be successful in various psychometric tests before being invited to attend the physical assessments.


Are there any height limits?

There are no maximum or minimum height limits.


If invited for interview, what questions will be asked?

The questions you are asked during interview will be competency-based.  The aim of competency-based interviews are to explore how you have used specific skills in your previous roles (paid or voluntary) and what your approach to problems, tasks and challenges would be.  This type of interview is based on the premise that past behaviour is a good predictor of future behaviour.

Should you be successful at the physical tests and invited for interview, you will have access to an interview practice booklet prior to attending. 


What can I do now to work towards the fitness tests?

Following the Fire Fit research into the physical demands of UK firefighting, the levels of cardiorespiratory fitness and physical strength and muscular endurance described below, serve as a guide to inform applicants on how best to prepare for the National Firefighter Selection Tests (NFST). While this does not guarantee success at NFST, it provides applicants with some guidance on expected physical competencies for selection.

You are likely to have the minimum level of cardiorespiratory fitness for UK firefighting if you can:

  • Run 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometres) continuously in 12 minutes or less  (This is equal to running 6 laps of a 400 m outdoor athletics track in 12 minutes).
  • Run on a treadmill at 7.5 mph (12 km/h) for 12 minutes.
  • Perform the multi-stage shuttle run test (bleep test) to at least level 8 shuttle 8.

You are likely to have the minimum physical strength and muscular endurance if you can:

  • Shoulder press 30 kg once in an overhead, upright seated position.


Would I be disadvantaged if I do not attend a taster session?

The taster sessions do not form part of the assessment process, they provide information only to assist you.  Don’t worry if you cannot get booked on to a session, we will continue to release dates throughout the process and as they do not form part of the process, they are no mandatory to attend.  All information provided to candidates at the sessions will be available on our website soon.


If I attend a taster day at a particular station, will I be based there?

No, the taster sessions are running across all services to help fit around your current commitments.  You can choose to visit any fire service premises, regardless of which service you would like to work for and you will not be held to taking a position at that station.


What should I wear and bring to a taster session?

Some of the activities require physical activity so please dress appropriately (gym attire/trainers/water bottle). 


I pre-registered my interest – what does this mean?

Due to the high volume of interest we received, we have temporarily suspended the pre-registration portal for all roles.  All information is now available on the internet and therefore you will not be disadvantage if you have not pre-registered.

The application process if managed through a different system and details of this will be released in due course.


Medical information

What is the eyesight requirement?

The visual entry standards for firefighters are:

  • Unaided visual acuity of 6/60 and read N48 at least 30cm with both eyes open.
  • Have a corrected visual acuity of at least 6/9 and read N12 at 30cm with both eyes open.  Please note, applicants can use glasses of an appropriate specification on the fire ground should they need to obtain this standard of vision.
  • Have normal binocular visual field determined by confrontation techniques or formal testing methods.
  • Operational firefighters must have an appropriate level of colour perception.  Individuals with either normal colour vision or slightly abnormal green colour vision are suitable for appointment.

If you are unsure whether you meet these criteria, you are advised to seek advice from a qualified optometrist.

Candidates who have undergone laser eye surgery will not be considered for an appointment to a position for a minimum of 12 months after the date of the procedure. Although, this does not preclude you from joining the recruitment process.


Can I apply if I wear glasses?

As part of the medical, candidates undergo an optician's examination. If you require glasses and depending on your eyesight, the Fire Service will equip you with prescription safety glasses.


I have a medical condition; will this affect my application?

Fire and Rescue Authorise are required to assess each applicant on an individual basis with regard to their suitability to perform the role of a firefighter, in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. In addition, under current legislation, as a Fire and Rescue Authority we need to ensure that individuals are safe at work for their own protection and that of others.

This means, that we will consider what reasonable adjustments could be made to enable you to proceed with your application. To ensure that your health, safety and wellbeing in the work environment is maintained, you will need to tell us about any condition or medication that you are taking.

Prior to applying, if you have any queries about your health condition or medication that you are taking, you may wish to contact: to discuss this.



Pay and benefits

How much annual leave would I be entitled to?

Within County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, on entry the paid Annual Leave entitlement is 25 allocated 'A' days and 13 other days (inclusive of bank holidays). However, other Fire Services may vary leave entitlement to suit local conditions.


If I am successful what salary can I expect?

Wholetime Firefighter

Annual £

Monthly £










N.B. from Trainee to Competent may be a minimum of three years.

Would I be able to progress my career in the Fire Service?

Yes, there are opportunities for development and promotion, as well as alternative roles and opportunities to learn new skills such as HGV driver, advanced water rescue and level 3 working at height.  T


Is there a pension scheme?

New entrants will be contractually enrolled on to the Firefighter Pension scheme 2015, the benefits of the pension include;

  • A secure pension with benefits set out in law.
  • A pension of 1/59.7th of your pay every year, added to your pension account and protected against inflation.
  • The option to convert part of your pension into a tax-free lump sum when you retire.
  • Immediate payment of pension benefits if you.
  • Retire at pension age – 60, or retire early from age 55 (but with an early payment reduction).
  • Have to retire because of permanent ill health or injury at any age.
  • You can take partial retirement, at or after the age of 55 without leaving employment.
  • A lump sum of three years’ final pay if you die in service.
  • Family and dependant benefits.
  • A substantial employer contribution towards the cost of your benefits.
  • The opportunity to transfer previous benefits into the scheme in the first 12 months of membership.
  • The choice of deferring payment of your pension benefits until State Pension Age if you leave the scheme early, or transferring them to another pension arrangement (unless you were a member for less than three months when you would get a refund of contributions instead).
  • Employee contributions vary from 10% to 14.5% of your pay depending on your rate of pay. 


Your information

What will happen to my data?

Under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) any data collected in the course of any recruitment campaigns will be used County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service and / or our recruitment partners for quality assurance purposes pertaining to the individual campaign.  Following the conclusion of each campaign, your data will be securely disposed of and you will need to re-register for any other campaign that you wish to apply for.


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