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.

What are the upper and lower age limits for joining as a firefighter?
How tall do you need to be to become a firefighter? 
What qualifications do I need to become a firefighter?
Do I need a driving licence before I join? 
How fit do you have to be to become a firefighter?
What fitness tests will be applied? 
What skills do I need to be a firefighter?
What are the entry tests to join the fire service? 
Where can I get information on the shuttle run bleep test from?
I have a disability; can I still become a firefighter?
What are the eyesight requirements to join the fire service?
Will being colour blind prevent me from becoming a firefighter?
What medical grounds could I fail on?
Can I apply if I have a criminal record? 
How long does the recruitment process take?
Can I join the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, even though I am an overseas national?
What is the training requirement if I am successful?
Where will I be placed after training, where will be my work base location be?
What is the Shift pattern for Whole time Firefighters? 

 

Back to top

1. What are the upper and lower age limits for joining as a firefighter?

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

Back to top

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

  • There is no minimum height requirement.

Back to top

3. What qualifications do I need to become a firefighter?

  • No qualifications are required, however, it is essential that you can demonstrate competence in mathematical calculations. This will form part of the selection process in form of a calculation test.

Back to top

4. Do I need a driving licence before I join?

  • No, but you will need to hold one on conclusion of your training period.

Back to top

5. 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.
  • There are many ways of achieving the required level of fitness and a member of your local gym may be able to advise on how you can train to meet this requirement.

Back to top

6. 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 during the fitness assessment. 
  • We have also included details of the practical selection tests on our website. Some of these tests will challenge your upper body strength and so a good level of fitness will be required to complete these.

Back to top

7. 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

Back to top

8. What are the entry tests to join the fire service?

  • Two online psychometric tests (Situational Judgment Test and Calculation) 
  • Practical Selection Tests (confined space test, equipment assembly, ladder climb, casualty evacuation, equipment carry, ladder extension)
  • Interview (personal qualities and attributes (PQA) based)
  • Fitness Test (shuttle run bleep test)

Back to top

9. Where can I get information on the shuttle run bleep test from?

  • If you are a member of a local gym then they may be able to assist you with this, otherwise please follow the link to obtain guidance on the shuttle run bleep test.

Back to top

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

  • Your application will need to meet the selection requirements in order to progress to the next stage in the process and reasonable adjustments to both the role and the selection process will be considered.
  • §The Service is unable to assess your individual health until the offer of appointment, and therefore would not be in a position to confirm your suitability until this point.

Back to top

11. What are the eyesight requirements to join the fire service?

  • Uncorrected visual acuity should be at least 6/18 or better in the best eye and 6/24 or better in the worst eye.
  • Corrected acuity should be a minimum of 6/7.5 in the best eye, with the worse eye at least 6/12.
  • The ability to read N6 at 30cm (under 25 years) or N12 at 30cm (25 years and over) unaided binocularly.
  • Normal visual fields to confrontation in both eyes.
  • Minor colour vision defects may be acceptable subject to the results of specialist testing. If you fail the Ishihara screening test, you will be informed by the optician. The result and further steps will be discussed at the medical to determine type and severity of the colour vision defect. Further specialist testing may be required.
  • If you’ve had surgical correction (e.g. laser correction) you can apply after a period of 12 months providing they meet the above standards and have no evidence of other complications that would impair safe or effective working.
  • Other eye disorders will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Back to top

12. 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”.”

Back to top

13. What medical grounds could I fail on?

  • As stated above, individual applications are considered on a case by case basis in line with the specific requirements of the role and every attempt will be made to consider any reasonable adjustments that can be made, provided we can ensure that the individual can undertake the role safely. An example of this would be the use of intrinsically safe hearing aids. Examples of some medical conditions that may be more problematic would be poorly controlled epilepsy.   However the Occupational Health Physician would discuss any medical conditions with you prior to making a final decision. 
  • Those with a current asthma or a history of asthma may require more rigorous testing of lung function e.g. a series of lung function tests carried out before and after a fitness test. A report from your GP will be sought regarding the standard of control of the asthma.
  • Support staff roles also come under the Equality Act 2010 and it is in the main easier to make reasonable adjustments to less physical roles and less safety critical roles

Back to top

14. Can I apply if I have a criminal record? 

  • Yes, whilst the public is entitled to expect that the Service will only recruit people who demonstrate the highest standards of professional conduct, honesty and integrity, having convictions does not preclude you from applying.
  • In accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exclusions and Exceptions) (Scotland) Order 2013 (as amended) if you have a conviction or spent convictions and if the nature of the offence is relevant to the job that you’ve applied for, we will seek to review the individual circumstances of the case and may decide to withdraw your application on this basis.  Find out more at Disclosure Scotland code of Practice.

Back to top

15. How long does the recruitment process take?  

  • Each recruitment process will vary. A timetable will be provided for individual recruitment campaign.
  • If you are successful, you may be allocated to the first scheduled course for that particular campaign. However, if you are not in this first allocation, you will be placed in a holding pool for courses which are scheduled throughout the year.

Back to top

16. Can I join the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, even though I am an overseas national?

  • Yes, you are eligible to apply, however we will need to verify your eligibility to work in the UK as part of the offer process.

Back to top

17. What is the training requirement if I am successful?

  • For trainee wholetime firefighter’s attendance at a 14 week training course at a Scottish Fire and Rescue Service College site will be required. These locations include;
    • SFRS College National Training Centre and Headquarters, Westburn Drive
    • SFRS College Portlethen, Schoolhill Road
    • SFRS College Invergordon, Academy Road
    • SFRS College, Perth, 401 High Street
    • SFRS College, Thornton, Strathmore road, until new college premises are complete at the East Headquarters, Newbridge, 21 Claylands Road
  • Start and finish times at course locations:
    • 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)
    • There is a residential requirement for 7 weeks during this course. Outside these 7 weeks, trainees can stay at home and commute.
  • For trainee retained firefighter’s attendance at a 2 week training course at a Scottish Fire and Rescue Service College site or training location 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 firefighter’sattendance at a 2 week training course at a Scottish Fire and Rescue Service College site or training location 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

Back to top

18. Where will I be placed after training, where will be my work base location be?

  • With the organization serving the whole of Scotland, there is the opportunity for you to be based anywhere in Scotland and we will allocate locations based on the Service needs.
  • During the Selection process you will be given the opportunity to select preference locations, however it may not be possible to meet given preferences.
  • You should consider the possibility that your base location may result in travel.

Back to top

19. What is the Shift pattern for Whole time Firefighters?

  • You will work, on average, 42 hours per week. 
  • Throughout Scotland there are currently 2 duty systems that operate;
  • A rota based system:
  1. 2 Day shifts, 2 Night shifts and 4 rota days (days off)
  2. The rota is cyclical and runs for 10 weeks
  3. Weeks 9 & 10 of the rota cycle involve 14 days of continuous leave.
  • A day shift-duty system (Livingston only):
  1. Monday – Friday 8am-6pm
  2. The rota is cyclical and runs for 6 weeks
  3. Weeks 1 – 5 will involve 1 rota day (day off)

Back to top


Share