Safest People, Safest Places

Recruitment and training


The recruitment and selection of retained firefighters is dependent upon you either living and/or working within five minutes of one of the Service’s retained fire stations.
Details of the locations of retained fire stations can be found on our website. Candidates are advised to use an online route planner to check their response time if they are unsure. Please remember the 5 minute response is from when the pager goes off therefore you could be asleep, in the shower or cutting the grass but you still need to response within 5 minutes. 
retained firefighters carry out their duties as required, via a pager system which alerts them to attend the station when an operational call is received. The information you give on your availability form tells us when you would be able to respond to operational calls and forms part of the retained firefighter selection process. You will therefore be expected to maintain this availability if you are successful in being an retained firefighter within Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service. The length of time it takes to complete the process varies, but it may take up to six months from the initial application.

Offer and Contract

Once you have successfully completed the recruitment and selection process and subject to your ongoing availability meeting the current requirements of the station, you will be sent an offer of employment letter together with your contract. All offers made are subject to confirmation of your legal right to work in the UK, Disclosure and Barring Service Check, our receipt of references satisfactory to this Service, a fitness test and a medical (including an eye sight examination).

Initial Training

If you are selected to join Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, whatever your educational achievements, you and other new recruits will receive the same basic training, consisting of technical, practical and theoretical work. The initial training will be held at our Training Centre in Durham, Monday to Saturday from approximately 9am – 5pm.
Prior to attendance on this 6 day initial course you will be required to undertake some basic training to give you the necessary skills and knowledge to fully participate.  Depending upon the area in which you are applying this may be done at your local station or you may be required to attend another station within the county to undertake this.  Usually this is done over a 2 day period however we appreciate the need for flexibility therefore other arrangements can be made. 
Once you have completed initial training your District Manager will undertake an assessment on you to deem you suitable to ride the fire appliance.  You will then be an retained firefighter and able to go out on 999 calls alongside the rest of your team at your local fire station.

Continuous Training

After your initial training you will be a trained firefighter. However, to become fully trained you will need to go through a development training package which will take place during drill nights. This normally takes up to three years to complete. You will receive further training throughout your career to ensure that you are kept up to date with the latest technology and equipment. If, after your three years development training you want to be promoted and are successful, you will have the opportunity to undertake courses, both internally and externally to broaden your existing knowledge of firefighting and rescue.

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