RETAINED FIREFIGHTER RECRUITMENT
Committed to Equal Opportunities
Content Page No.
? General Introduction 3-4
? Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service Profile 5 ? Our Vision 6-7 ? Retained Duty System 8-10 ? Becoming a Firefighter 11 ? Job Description & Person Specification 12-14 ? Recruitment Stages 15-18 ? General Information 19-22 ? Overview of Firefighter Application Form 23-25 ? Programme of Activities 26 ? WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP 27
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE AND MILTON KEYNES FIRE AUTHORITY
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE
The Fire and Rescue Service can offer you a satisfying, exciting and varied career, and
the aim of this booklet is to give you a better insight into what the work involves.
The role of the Fire Service has changed considerably in the last five years, and the role
within the community has had to change to reflect the new demands made on the
The „New Look‟ Firefighter is not an individual focused on the traditionally perceived role
of attending emergency incidents and the physical requirements to achieve that. The
Firefighter is now required to be even more adaptable than previously. Yes, the new
look Firefighter still fulfils the traditional role of dealing with fires in all types of premises
and a variety of Special Service Calls, which include incidents such as entrapment of
persons at road traffic collisions, chemical emergencies, flooding and other natural
disasters. But, the new look Firefighter is also able to switch from this reactive role to a
more preventative role, which involves the education of our communities about the
hazards presented by fire.
While you might start as a Firefighter, there are plenty of opportunities for career
development if you want it, and how quickly you progress will depend upon you.
The Work of the Fire Service
The objectives of a modern Fire and Rescue Service are, to build a safer society by
working in partnership with others, and to reduce death, injury, damage to property and
the environment from fire and other emergencies.
Dealing with emergencies
Technology obviously plays a major role in helping Firefighters to tackle emergencies as
efficiently and effectively as possible. For example, computers in control rooms store
street plans, details of high-risk buildings and the latest information on hazardous
materials. This ensures that as soon as emergency calls are received – whether a fire,
chemical spillage or road traffic collision – controllers can immediately assess what
appliances are required to attend. On attending a fire, the Firefighters have to make a
very quick assessment of the situation – as materials used in homes and factories
change, so does the way the fire is tackled. A house fire may require two appliances whereas a commercial or factory fire may involve several more appliances as well as
requiring thousands of litres of water and foam, plus the use of specialist equipment.
There is also the hazard of toxic fumes and heavy smoke, which can be generated from
modern materials – for example foam-filled furniture. This makes tackling a fire much
more difficult and Firefighters always go fully protected with equipment such as breathing
apparatus as well as personal radio sets to keep them in contact with colleagues at the
scene, or back at HQ. Firefighters will also have a range of other equipment at their
disposal depending on the incident to which they have been called; cutting and lifting
gear to deal with traffic collisions; protective suits for use at chemical spills and thermal
imaging cameras to help locate victims in smoke filled rooms.
Fire Safety – a key area of work Specialist training for officers involved in fire safety is provided at the National Fire
Service College in Gloucestershire and with individual Services. Based on the study of
Fire Engineering, there is also the opportunity to study other relevant academic
qualifications, such as the membership of the Institution of Fire Engineers. Training in
fire safety is critical to much of the day-to-day work of a Firefighter. Factories, offices,
shops, hotels, boarding houses and railway premises are all required to comply with
certain fire precaution measures, which include providing adequate means of escape. It
is the job of the Fire Service to ensure that these requirements are being followed and
effectively maintained. We also provide specialist fire protection advice to local
authorities responsible for licensing buildings such as theatres, cinemas, clubs and
sports grounds. Hospitals, schools, nursing homes and many other institutions also
need professional advice regarding fire safety.
Another important area of work is promoting fire safety through education and publicity to
the general public. Close links between individual stations and their communities are
vital in this, and building these gives Firefighters the opportunity to take part in all sorts of
events and activities that you might not have imagined could count as “work”!
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE FIRE & RESCUE
The Brigade provides a Fire & Rescue Service for the County of Buckinghamshire, which
covers a large area from Olney in Milton Keynes down to Gerrards Cross in the South of
the County, protecting a population in excess of 640,000.
The service is provided from 6 Wholetime shift, 4 Wholetime day crewed and 10 retained
The stations and the various working patterns within Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue
Amersham (day crewed & retained) Great Missenden (retained only)
Aylesbury (shift & retained) Haddenham (retained only)
Beaconsfield (shift & retained) High Wycombe (shift & retained)
Bletchley (shift & retained) Marlow (retained only)
Brill (retained only) Newport Pagnell (day crewed)
Broughton (shift & retained) Olney (retained only)
Buckingham (day crewed & retained) Princes Risborough (retained only)
Chesham (retained only) Stokenchurch (retained only)
Gerrards Cross (day crewed) Waddesdon (retained only)
Great Holm (shift & retained) Winslow (retained only
The establishment of the Brigade as at Jan 2008 is as follows:
Wholetime (station based) 308
Retained (station based) 212
Fire Control 21
The Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service exists to ….
“Making you safer by working together to reduce death and injury and, damage to
property, the environment and our heritage from fire and other emergences. We
will achieve this by balancing the provision of prevention, protection and
Our values are focused:-
? Service to the community
SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY
They are demonstrated through our commitment to Service in the Community
? Working with all groups to reduce risk
? Treating everyone fairly and with respect
? Striving for excellence in all we do; and
? Being answerable to those we serve
Our values will be demonstrated by everyone practicing and promoting:-
? Fairness and respect
? Recognising commitment and the achievement of excellent service
? Honesty and trust
? Opportunities to develop and learn
? Co-operation and inclusive working
We value diversity in our service and in the community by:-
? Treating everyone fairly and with respect
? Challenging prejudice and discrimination
? Creating opportunity to meet the different needs of people and the
? Promoting equal opportunities in terms of recruitment, promotion and
We value improvement at all level of the service by:-
? Accepting responsibility for our performance and actions
? Being open minded and receptive to alternative approaches
? Learning from our experiences
? Supporting others to enable them to achieve their goals
? Encourage innovation and creativity
Our strategic priorities are:
? To reduce risks to life, property and the environment.
? To promote the social, economic and environmental well being of the local
? To have a well equipped, skilled and highly motivated workforce, able to work
safely and that reflects the diversity of the community it serves.
? To continuously improve performance.
Retained Duty System
Generally the role of a Retained Firefighter is the same as that of a Wholetime Firefighter
with exception to salary and certain conditions of service.
We look to recruit committed and dedicated people who will be required to attend weekly
training periods of between 3-5 hours. You will have the opportunity to carry out
additional duties such as, community fire safety, fire hydrant inspections, equipment
maintenance and testing and general station routines. These duties are in addition to
responding to emergencies for which you will receive a retaining fee, turnout fee and
additional hourly rate payments. The range of duties and opportunities to earn more are
The role of a Retained Firefighter offers the chance to serve your local community.
Retained Firefighters do a whole range of jobs and attend the same operational incidents
as Wholetime Firefighters varying from fires, flood, road traffic collisions and chemical
Retained Firefighters are a diverse group of men and women from various vocational
backgrounds. They are ready to go to an incident the moment an emergency call comes
in. They are committed, professional, highly trained competent people on the front line,
saving lives and making headlines.
How do you become a Retained Firefighter?
You need to live or work within one mile of the Retained Fire Station at which you wish to
serve and should be able to respond within five minutes of an alarm, on foot or by
vehicle at normal road speeds. The role allows for great flexibility, and there are two
types of employment:
Full cover contracts – Firefighters employed on this cover live and work within five
minutes travel time of their local station. Their employer agrees to release them for
attending incidents during working hours and these Firefighters provide emergency
cover around the clock, over 120 hours per week
Part cover contracts – This term is used to describe all patterns of cover rather than
the 24 hour type described above. One such example is where a persons home is within
five minutes of their local station and they respond to incidents when they are not at work,
e.g. during weekday evenings and throughout the weekend period. There are too many
different types of cover to describe here. If you would like to know more about this
flexible type of cover, you are advised to contact the Station Manager of the Fire Station
to which you are interested in.
All members of the Fire & Rescue Service start their career gaining the essential front-line experience and training needed for employment as a competent Firefighter. For those Retained Firefighters seeking promotion, there are opportunities available to the roles of Retained Crew Manager and Retained Watch Manager.
Training The basic retained recruit courses either run during weekends over a 6 month period, or within a 2 week block. The training course is split into 6 modules, culminating in a two week breathing apparatus course (module 6).
The content of the course includes learning how to use equipment carried on the station appliances to a basic and safe standard. This will involve theoretical input as well as demonstrations on the equipment, you will be required to demonstrate competency as each weekend progresses.
The course is both physically and mentally challenging so successful applicants will need to ensure they maintain their fitness. A certain amount of study will be necessary in your own time and you will be able to seek assistance from station personnel or training centre staff should you require any further help.
Applicants are encouraged to attend their local stations, prior to starting the course to observe the working of the stations, and to get to know the staff. Applicants will not be able to take part in drills etc. until they have attended the first weekend training due to health and safety restrictions.
During the training you will be required to attend weekly drill nights mainly at your base station, with the exception of one evening per month where you will be required to attend the Haddenham Training Centre, near Aylesbury, for continuation training.
During Module 4, you are assessed to ensure you are safe. If you are successful you will be deemed able to ride to operational incidents on limited duties, this will be explained during the course.
Once you have successfully completed module 5 there is a requirement to attend a 2 week Breathing Apparatus course (Monday – Friday), with 4 days within the second
week being residential. If you are successful at this stage, you will be deemed competent to wear breathing apparatus at operational incidents.
Fees for Retained Firefighters with effect from 1 July 2007
Role Cover Rate
Firefighter Trainee Full ?2040.00
Development Full ?2125.00
Competent Full ?2719.00
Role Cover Rate
Firefighter Trainee Part ?1530.00
Development Part ?1593.75
Competent Part ?2039.25
Part cover is up to 120 hours per week and full cover is over 120 hours.
The above fees are per annum and one twelfth is paid per month.
In addition to the above, payments are made for calls to the station, calls that result in
being sent to an incident and an hourly rate for any additional duties including weekly
drill nights, work on the station and community fire safety duties. Payment is also made
for training courses attended.
Payment is made at an hourly rate:
Firefighter : Trainee ?9.31
A newly recruited Retained Firefighter will commence on the trainee rate of pay until they
are eligible to attend incidents, usually part way through the training course. The
Firefighter will then remain on the development rate of pay until completion of an NVQ
style portfolio, which can take a number of years to complete.
Interested? Need more Information?
If you think you have what it takes to join the retained service why not call in at your local
station where you can talk to the people who are already doing the job. They will be able
to give you a true insight of what life is like as a Retained Firefighter. Alternatively, you
can contact the station manager of the Fire Station to which you are interested in who
will gladly supply further information.