Recruitment and training


We are currently recruiting for on-call firefighters. Please register your details at

In order to apply you must be able to respond from home or work within five minutes of one of the on-call fire stations listed below. Please check you live close enough before registering. 

  • Crook
  • Spennymoor
  • Durham
  • Bishop Auckland
  • Barnard Castle
  • Middleton in Teesdale
  • High Handenhold
  • Consett
  • Stanhope
  • Newton Aycliffe
  • Sedgefield
  • Seaham
  • Wheatley Hill

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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 respond within 5 minutes. Candidates who do not live within the 5 minute response time will not be eligible to apply and their applications will not be progressed further than registration stage.
On-call firefighters carry out their duties as required, via a pager system which alerts them to attend the station when an operational call is received. You are required to provide us with hours of availability when you are able to respond to operational calls, prior to appointment, which forms part of the selection process.  You will therefore be expected to maintain this availability if you are successful in being an on-call firefighter within County 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 registration.


Please read the information pack for further information on the recruitment process. 

Stage 1

Applicants will be required to complete a series of online tests to include:

  • SIFT - Initial registration, job preview and eligibility screening
  • Ability tests - Mechanical, numerical and verbal  reasoning tests. Please click the link to access the online practice tests.

Stage 2

Applicants will be required to attend the role related (physical) tests which are held at our training facility. These consist of:

  • Ladder climb
  • Ladder lift
  • Casualty evacuation
  • Equipment carry
  • Equipment assembly
  • Enclosed space

Stage 3

Applicants will attend an interview and presentation which will last around an hour and will be of a formal nature. The interview questions will be behavioural and based on the  

For further information on the interview, please download our 

Stage 4

Applicants will be required to attend a fitness test and medical which will include:

  • VO2 max treadmill test
  • Alcohol and drugs test
  • Eyesight test
  • Hearing test
  • Grip test
  • Lung function test

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, a fitness test and a medical (including an eye sight examination).

Initial training

If you are selected to join County 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 on station to give you the necessary skills and knowledge to fully participate.  
Once you have completed initial training your divisional manager will undertake an assessment on you to deem you suitable to ride the fire appliance.  You will then be 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 can take 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 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.