Recruitment and training


We are currently recruiting for on-call firefighters. Please register your details by selecting 'apply now'.



Please note: Once you’ve submitted your application, check your email inbox or junk folder for an automated reply

Apply now >

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. Please check you live close enough before registering. 

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.

1.    Registration 

Upon registering via the apply now link you will automatically receive an e-mail containing an availability form which allows you to indicate what hours you can provide cover at your On Call station. Ideally, we are looking for candidates to be on Call between 06:00 & 18:00 or some hours between them times. We will compare all candidate’s availability form to the needs of that particular station as not all stations require the same cover. 

2.    Online Assessments

Once your Initial Availability Form is received and checked to ensure the hours that you can provide are beneficial to the station, you will be invited to undergo the Online Assessment Stage of the recruitment process. 
The tests include mechanical, verbal reasoning and numerical tests. Please click the links below to access the online practice tests.

Mechanical FRS (
Verbal reasoning FRS (
Numerical FRS (

3.    Assessment Centre (Interview & Role Related tests)

The Assessment Centre which is hosted at our Service Training Centre in Bowburn (DH6 5AD) combines both the Role Related tests and the interview stage, the interview will last for approximately one hour and will be hosted by two members of CDDFRS Staff, the interview questions will be based around Firefighter Personal Quality and Attributes (PQA’s) as well as your knowledge on both the On Call Duty System and County Durham & Darlington FRS 

There are 6 components to the role related test stage. 

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

Ladder climb

Ladder lift

Casualty evacuation

Equipment carry

Equipment assembly

Enclosed space

Further information on what to expect and how to prepare for the Role Related tests can be found by following the link below.

Download the Preparatory Fitness Programme. Guidance on Physical Training Preparation for the National Firefighter Selection Tests

4.    Fitness Test

The Fitness test is carried out at our Welfare suite which is located at our Service Headquarters within Belmont Business Park (DH1 1TW). You will be met by the service fitness advisor and will conduct a VO2 treadmill test, please see the below links to see what the test entails 

What is the VO2 treadmill test? –

As part of the pre-fitness assessment health screening process, you will be required to complete a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire which asks the following questions: 

  1. Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition OR high blood pressure? 
  2. Do you feel pain in your chest at rest, during your daily activities of living, OR when you do physical activity?
  3. Do you lose balance because of dizziness OR have you lost consciousness in the last 12 months? Please answer NO if your dizziness was associated with over-breathing (including during vigorous exercise).
  4. Have you ever been diagnosed with another chronic medical condition (other than heart disease or high blood pressure)? 
  5. Are you currently taking prescribed medications for a chronic medical condition?
  6. Do you currently have (or have had within the past 12 months) a bone, joint, or soft tissue muscle, ligament, or tendon) problem that could be made worse by becoming more physically active? Please answer NO if you had a problem in the past, but it does not limit your current ability to be physically active.
  7. Has your doctor ever said that you should only do medically supervised physical activity?

Should you feel that any of the above apply to you or if you wish to discuss further then please contact Joe Astbury - Service Health and Fitness Advisor in advance on 0191 3755652 or 07786027235. Doing this will help speed up the process should you need to be referred to Occupational Health or your G.P.

If none of the above apply then please attend your appointment at the agreed time at the Fitness Assessment Suite.

5.    Medical

Our medical appointments take place on a Tuesday at our Technical Services Centre at Bowburn (Unit 7, Bowburn Industrial Estate South, DH6 5AD) please note this is not the same building as our Service Training Centre. The medical includes the following tests:

  • Hearing
  • Eyesight
  • Lung function
  • Alcohol & Drugs 

6.    Background checks and references

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 eyesight 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. At the commencement of your employment with the service you will undergo your Phase 1 training and will be classed as a Trainee Firefighter. You must attend the Stations’ weekly training session and either conduct Modular based training on station or attend a 5-day Foundation Course.

Once your Phase 1 training has been completed, you will be assessed by either a trainer or a member of your Divisional Management Team and when you are deemed to be safe to ride you can then respond to operational incidents as the 5th Person.  

Phase 2 training: 

During phase 2 training you will be required to attend the following Risk Critical courses: 

  • Working at Height – 3 days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • Road Traffic Collision – 3 days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
  • BA Course – 10 days (Monday to Friday)

After completion of the above courses, you will be able to respond to operational incidents as the 4th person

Continuous training

Once you finish phase 1 and phase 2 training you will be required to gather and record evidence to complete your development plan and become a fully competent fire fighter. Evidence gathering is done via attending operational incidents, attending drill periods, carrying out community protection and fire prevention work.