Want to be an on-call firefighter?

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service has many on-call fire stations located across the county. On-call firefighters receive the same training as wholetime firefighters. They respond to incidents either from their primary place of work or from home. We regularly recruit for on-call firefighter roles, so check here regularly to make sure you don't miss an opportunity!

We're sorry, there aren't currently any vacancies available. Please keep checking back.

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What it means to be an on-call firefighter

On-call firefighters are firefighters who are contracted to be available at certain times and carry an alerter. They are required to respond to an emergency when the alerter activates. To be an on-call firefighter applicants have to be able to respond to the fire station within the required time, so applicants need to either live or work within a close distance. Applicants may already be in a full-time job, unemployed or looking for a career that can fit around their childcare or home life. Being an on-call firefighter can complement many different lifestyles.

On-call firefighters are trained to deal with a wide range of emergency situations. They provide an agreed contract of hours for emergency cover throughout the week. Additionally, they also undertake weekly evening training sessions at station to maintain and develop skills. On-call firefighters receive full initial training followed by continuous development; this will require dedication. Those responding from work will require their employer’s consent, whilst those responding from home must consider the impact on their home life.

Learn about being an on-call firefighter recruit

Serving your community

Almost half of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s firefighters are on-call, meaning they respond to emergency calls within their community from home or work.

The contribution of on-call firefighters and the support of employers, particularly in Lancashire’s rural areas and small towns, enable the service to respond quickly to fires and other emergencies, and keep people safe.

There is great value in the skills and attributes our on-call firefighters bring to the service and equal benefits to be gained outside the service from the training and experiences they go through.

Both employees and employers can help us make Lancashire a safer place for everyone.

What training on-call firefighters receive

On-call crews receive the same outstanding level of training as their wholetime counterparts:

  1. Initial training

    On-call firefighters must attend a two-week initial training course at our training centre in Chorley. The course takes place Monday to Friday and will require additional study. This course develops firefighters core skills but also includes an introduction to equality and diversity training, health and safety and risk assessments.

  2. Breathing apparatus training

    This is a two-week course carried out approximately six months after the initial training. It covers the skills needed to wear breathing apparatus in hot and humid conditions and can be demanding on the firefighter.

  3. Drill nights

    New recruits must complete a development programme over a maximum of four years. This involves attending drill nights at the fire station every week, additional training in the evenings or at weekend and some study in their own time.

  4. Additional specialist training

    As a recruit firefighter progresses through their development programme they will attend additional specialist training in road traffic collision, rope rescue, water safety, trauma training, safeguarding and hazardous materials training which includes an introduction to COSHH and RIDDOR procedures.

  5. Continuous professional development

    Throughout an on-call firefighter’s career, there will be opportunities for further development, such as LGV driver training and refresher training for critical skills.

On-call support officers

From your initial application through fitness tests and interviews, our friendly team of on-call support officers will support you at every stage of your on-call journey.

We currently have support officers located across Lancashire, providing help and advice to current and prospective crew members. Each officer looks after several fire stations within a set area, ensuring they understand their location and the challenges on-call firefighters may face.

You can find more information and contact details for your local fire station's on-call support officer and drill nights on our website.

Please note: not all Lancashire fire stations are on-call, or have an on-call support officer.

Upcoming events

There are several upcoming have a go events across Lancashire. We are encouraging everyone to attend and see what we have to offer! Could you be an on-call firefighter in the making? Attend one of these events to find out:

Date

Location

18/05/24 - 10am

Wesham Fire Station

25/05/24 - 10am

Rawtenstall Fire Station

15/06/24 - 10am

Wesham Fire Station

On-call firefighter fitness requirements

What are the physical sections of the recruitment process?
  1. Multi-Stage Shuttle Run/Bleep Test Achieving level 8.6

  2. Chester Treadmill Test

    This is an incremental test incorporating seven levels where the gradient increases 3% every two minutes while the speed is set at 3.9mph (6.2km/hr). To be successful the full twelve minute test has to be achieved.

  3. Practical Assessment Day (PAD)

    Candidates will be allocated into groups and work around the following stations/tests in no particular order: Ladder Climb, Casualty Evacuation, Ladder Lift, Ladder Extension, Enclosed Space, Equipment Carry, Hose Running.

  4. Strength Test*

    Seated shoulder press - 35kg or more. Single rope pull test - 42kg or more. Repeated 28kg pull test at 35 reps/min - 23 reps or more.

    *This is not a pass or fail element. However, competency on these strength-based tests will be an indication of success throughout the recruit course.

Improving fitness

Elevated cardiorespiratory fitness is necessary to aid metabolic demands of firefighting training, promoting faster recovery between drills whilst also keeping you fit until the end of the session.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is designed to improve endurance and improve maximal performance when working at 80% of aerobic capacity.

This type of training also mimics the energy expenditure during an emergency; with this in mind alongside the effectiveness in cardiovascular adaptations it is beneficial to include HIIT in exercise prescriptions for firefighters.

HIIT training encompasses short, intermittent bouts of strenuous exercise promoting work rates at high intensity close to that of maximal heart rate. Rest periods should incorporate low intensity movements to allow for an active recovery, this will ensure no rapid drop in blood pressure or blood pooling which would result in the individual becoming faint.

This video shows what to expect during the bleep test.

Improving strength

Well-rounded strength is required to be a functional firefighter. A baseline of strength is required to perform the functional tasks outlined above. If you cannot achieve this, it is suggested that a strength programme will have to be undertaken, using the following guidelines (NSCA):

Sets

Repetitions

Intensity

Recovery

3-4

1-6

85-100%

2-3 minutes

If you already meet the required baseline of strength, a strength endurance programme should be undertaken. This will prepare you for the repeated bouts of exercise experienced throughout the recruits’ course:

Sets

Repetitions

Intensity

Recovery

1-3

15-20

50-70%

30-60 seconds

Intensity is based upon one repetition at maximum mass for a specific exercise. For example, if an individual was to deadlift 100kg as a one rep max then 85% 1RM would be 85kg. Upper body strength is vital for being a successful firefighter. Functional exercises could include:

  • Lat pull down

  • Shoulder press

  • Arnie curls

  • Tricep dip

  • Upright row

  • Seated row

  • Push ups

Improving grip strength

Grip strength can often be a limiting factor throughout the firefighter recruits course due to the nature of the equipment used and the repeated bouts of exercise. This can be often overlooked throughout training regimes; however in this role grip strength is of utmost importance. Improving this aspect of your strength will stand you in good stead throughout the course.

Example exercises could include:

  • Farmers Walks - using dumbells /kettlebells: choose a weight that will feel very heavy by the end of the set. Increase weight and distance covered to improve grip strength.

  • Plate grippers - using a plate that will feel very heavy by the end of the set, 20 reps each way, transfer plate only gripping with fingers.

  • Towel Supine Row/TRX row – using body weight complete 8-12 reps, keep body in a plank position with core tight. Using a thick towel (on a barbell) will challenge grip, increase difficulty placing feet on box/bench.

Please note - in the event of you having an underlying health issue or concern you should consult with your GP before embarking on the programme. All exercise carries with it the risk of injury or illness and you undertake any exercise at your own risk. LFRS assumes no responsibility for any injury or illness that may arise as a result of you undertaking any pre-course fitness programme.

Nutrition

Carbohydrates are an important energy supply with glycogen stores being drawn upon to sustain exercise. Maintaining an optimum level of carbohydrates throughout the course is critical as this can often be a limiting factor in performance.

Research has shown that consuming carbohydrates, 100g of a high glycemic index, three to four hours before exercise is an effective method of improving performance.

Ingesting smaller amounts of carbohydrates (i.e. 40g immediately prior and 10-15g every 15mins – perhaps in the form of a drink) prevents a fall in blood glucose and in turn delays fatigue.

What do carbs look like?
  • 1 large potato = approx. 55g carbs

  • 1 medium bowl of oats = approx. 50g carbs

  • 2 slices of bread = approx. 45g carbs

  • 500ml sports drink = approx. 30g carbs

Keeping hydrated as a firefighter is of upmost importance, this can improve performance and the ability to quickly recover from training sessions. Being well hydrated will improve motor function, decision making, concentration and enhances mental function which are all key aspects for success. It can be suggested to consume approximately 5-7mL/kg (of body mass) of fluids with sodium around four hours prior to a training session. Whilst also maintaining fluid intake throughout the day, ensuring urine is clear

FAQs for employers

If you are an employer, these frequently asked questions may help you understand how you can support your local fire service.