Can I join?
Anyone can be a retained firefighter, as long as they meet the entry criteria and are able to respond to the station within the required time. Whether you have a full-time job, are unemployed or are looking for a career that you can fit around child care needs, being a retained firefighter can complement many different lifestyles. Being a retained firefighter requires a range of personal skills such as understanding, reliability, flexibility and the ability to work within a team. You don't need any qualifications but there's a selection process that will mean you need to pass some physical and practical tests and a medical. Before you decide to apply you need to make sure that you:
- Are aged over 18.
- Have a good level of all-round fitness.
- Live or work within five minutes, or in some instances, seven minutes.
- Have a good standard of eyesight and hearing that is acceptable to carry out the firefighter role. This can be aided or unaided.
- Have the enthusiasm, time and commitment to participate fully in this essential emergency service.
- Are literate and numerate.
How does it work?
- Retained firefighters agree to be available for a set number of hours per week. In return they are paid a salary.
- They carry a pager and respond to emergencies from home or work when required.
- Whilst on-call they can carry on with their day-to-day activities but they must have their pager with them at all times and be able to get to the fire station within five minutes, or in some instances, seven minutes. Of course, this means that they are not able to drink alcohol while on-call.
- Retained firefighters receive full training and equipment.
- Retained firefighters need support: those who want to respond from work must have their employer's consent and those who want to respond from home need to be aware that it may impact on home or family life.
For employers who are looking to find out more about what is involved with supporting retained firefighters in the work place and what benefit there is for their business, they can download our employers guide here.
Retained firefighters receive a retaining fee for the hours of cover they provide which is a minimum of 60 and a maximum of 120. They also receive additional payments including allowances for disturbance, turnout, attendance and an hourly rate for other none operational duties.
For example, the pay for a fully trained retained firefighter covering 80 hours per week is:
- Retaining fee - £4167 per annum
- Turnout fee - £17.43 per hour
- Attendence fee - £10.67 per hour
- Other duties - £13.53 per hour