The common image of the Fire and Rescue Service is naturally one of firefighters turning out in fire engines and fighting fires. It is true of course that some of the work involves attendance at fires, but the role is much wider than this.
In recent years, greater emphasis has been placed on the Fire and Rescue Service's role within the community; with firefighters spending more time out in the community raising awareness, conducting Home Fire Safety Checks, communicating fire prevention and other safety messages.
In addition, a firefighter's work and training also has to be geared to responding at speed to emergency calls, regardless of weather conditions or the time of day or night. Every time firefighters are called to the scene of an emergency they must be prepared to deploy each and every skill in which they have been trained.
Fully competent firefighters are skilled technicians capable of using the most modern equipment, methods and techniques to undertake the full range of firefighting, rescues, road traffic collisions and other emergencies that the Fire and Rescue Service is called upon to deal with.
When they arrive at an incident as part of a team under the command of an incident commander, firefighters have to absorb a great deal of information rapidly and apply the skills they have learnt in conditions which will often be extremely dangerous and confusing. Despite all the training given in preparation for such incidents, however, firefighters will from time to time be faced with new situations where they may individually be required to provide solutions using previous experiences as a guide.
With such a varied job, the characteristics of a firefighter have to be those of courage; physical and mental strength; the capacity for rapid, intense and sustained effort, and an unquestioning acceptance of orders at emergencies, combined with the ability to use initiative when alone. A firefighter also needs to be compassionate and above all, display a positive and professional attitude at all times.
The successful applicant would possess the following:
A mature and balanced outlook
The ability to deal sensitively with members of the public in difficult and emotional situations
The ability to function under pressure, often with great courage and in distressing circumstances.
Brilliant team working skills
The ability to accept change
A high standard of self-discipline
Punctuality, dependability and commitment with the ability to take orders and follow instructions
Ability to pick up new skills and retain information quickly and accurately
Prepared to work unsociable hours, including night shifts, weekends and public holidays; and to work outside in all types of weather.
Ability to communicate clearly both verbally and in writing
High standards of personal fitness and stamina with a capacity for rapid intense and sustained efforts
Self-confidence, enthusiasm, initiative, tenacity and common sense