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Frequently asked Questions

If you're thinking about becoming a Firefighter you'll probably have a lot of questions. We've answered some of the most common ones below.

Is there a closing date for recruitment?

We are not currently recruiting for the role of wholetime firefighter.

Please check back for news of when recruitment will open again.

What are the upper and lower age limits for a firefighter?

You have to be 18 years of age before or on the day you apply. There is no upper age limit.

How tall do you need to be to become a firefighter?

There is no minimum height requirement.

What qualifications do I need to become a firefighter?

No qualifications are required. Applicants will require to successfully complete online psychometric tests as part of the selection process. Your performance on these assessments will be validated by further testing of these skills at various stages of the recruitment process

Do I need a driving licence before I join?

No, but you will need to hold a driving licence on conclusion of your development phase and may be asked to drive fire appliances.

How fit do you have to be to become a firefighter?

To become a firefighter and to carry out this role on a day to day basis, as a career, you require a good level of physical fitness.

What fitness tests will be applied?

You will undertake the multi stage shuttle run and must be able to achieve a VO2 max of 42 (level 8.8) to successfully complete the fitness assessment.

The practical selection tests will also assess your level of fitness and upper body strength.

What skills do I need to be a firefighter?

Other than good fitness levels, the diverse role of a firefighter requires you to be able to:

  • Positively engage with the public
  • Be a strong communicator
  • Have leadership and team work skills
  • Problem solve
  • Be resilient handling situations under pressure

What are the entry tests to join the fire service?

I have a disability; can I still become a firefighter?

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are a Disability Confident Employer. We are committed to:

  • Ensuring our recruitment process is inclusive and accessible,
  • Communicating and promoting our vacancies,
  • Anticipating and providing reasonable adjustments, as required.

At application stage, we will ask you to disclose your disability and outline any special requirements you would like to request during the process. Reasonable adjustments will be considered.

The Service is unable to assess your individual health until medical stage and therefore would not be in a position to confirm your suitability until this point.

What are the eyesight requirements to join the fire service?

Read more about the medical assessment and eyesight requirements for the role of a firefighter. 

If you have any doubts that you can meet the eyesight requirements above, we strongly recommend that you seek advice from an optician on whether you meet the standards above BEFORE applying to become a Firefighter.

Will being colour blind prevent me from becoming a firefighter?

Colour vision screening will be carried out using an Ishihara Test conducted by an optician. Those failing that test will be asked to undergo further testing using other methods. Minor colour vision defects are accepted provided you are regarded as “colour safe”.

What medical grounds could I fail on?

Individual applications are considered on a case by case basis in line with the Equality Act 2010 and specific requirements of the role.  Decisions relating to whether or not your medical issue will prevent you from becoming a firefighter can only be made following a detailed and individual assessment with our health and wellbeing team.

Can I apply if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from working for us. If you have a conviction or spent convictions, SFRS will consider its nature, its relevance to the role of firefighter, the sentence, patterns of offending and the length of time since the offence and may decide to withdraw your application on this basis.  A final review and decision will not be undertaken until conditional offer stage, when the PVG return is available.

How long does the recruitment process take?

The recruitment process is open all year round, with regional practical testing sessions and selection centres scheduled to take place at regular intervals in line with our vacancy profile.

It’s difficult to say how long the recruitment process will take as this will depend on the whether we are actively recruiting for the area you have specified within your application and the volume of applications received.

What is the training requirement if I am successful?

For trainee wholetime firefighters, attendance at a 3 month training course at the SFRS National Training Centre, Cambuslang will be required. Course Delivery will either be a 4 on, 4 off rotation or a Monday to Friday work pattern.

Start and finish times are as follows:

  • Monday: 0930-1730 hours (Week 1), 1000-1730 hours (Weeks 2 to 14)
  • Tuesday to Thursday: 0830-1730 hours (Weeks 1 – 14)
  • Friday: 0830 to 1600 hours (Weeks 1 – 14)

For trainee retained firefighters, attendance at a 2 week training course at a SFRS site will be required.

If the course location is more than an hour’s drive from your home, this course may be residential.

Start and finish times for this course will be 0900-1700 daily

For trainee volunteer firefighters, attendance at a 2-week training course at a SFRS site will be required.

If the course location is more than an hour’s drive from your home, this course may be residential.

Start and finish times for this course will be 0900-1700 daily.

What is the shift pattern for wholetime firefighters?

Firefighters work , on average, 42 hours per week. Throughout Scotland there are currently 2 duty systems that operate;

A rota based system:

  • 2 Day shifts, 2 Night shifts and 4 rota days (days off)
  • The rota is cyclical and runs for 10 weeks
  • Weeks 9 & 10 of the rota cycle involve 14 days of continuous leave.

A day shift-duty system (Livingston only):

  • Monday – Friday 0800-1800 daily
  • The rota is cyclical and runs for 6 weeks
  • Weeks 1 – 5 will involve 1 rota day (day off)

I am a RDS Firefighter with SFRS, can I apply?

Yes. You will be expected to complete the entire recruitment process including all assessments.

If I am unsuccessful at any stage of the selection process, can I re-apply?

Yes. However, you must wait 12 months before you submit a further application.

Do you accept transfers from other UK fire and rescue services?

SFRS maintains a transfer register for competent wholetime Firefighters who wish to transfer to Scotland from other UK Fire and Rescue Services. 

The transfer register is managed independently from the open recruitment process with intakes scheduled in line with workforce needs.

If you want to be added to our transfer list for future reference please email to register your interest.