Becoming A Fire-Fighter
Mick Cumming (Fireman) gives expert video advice on: Do you have to be very fit to be a Fire-Fighter? and more...
What did you have to do to become a Fire-Fighter?
To become a fire-fighter I had to go through quite a rigorous number of tests. It started off with some written tests; in English language, in basic arithmetic, in verbal reasoning. If you were successful in this, you then had to go and do a physical which included heights, making sure that you were okay with heights, working in confined spaces (claustrophobic test), and also a weight section where you had to lift certain weights above your shoulders and using various muscles to simulate the lifting that we do in the job. Once this was done we then had to do a "bleep test". At the time when I joined, you had to get to level ten on the "bleep test". This was basically shuttle runs of approximately twenty meters; you have to run between each shuttle. There's a certain time that you have to do the shuttle in. That time gets less and less as each level progresses, so by the time you get to level 10, 11, 12, you're almost sprinting the 20 meters. When I joined it was level ten you had to get to to go any further, but I think now it's changed slightly. Once you get past this they went on to do an interview with three people from the fire service. You also had a home visit, and once that had all passed you then attended a medical. If you passed the medical, then you got the letter of acceptance.
What do you have to do to become a Fire-Fighter now?
To join the fire service now it's slightly changed from when I joined. Now they would have to fill out an application for it. If that was accepted, they would then do some general written tests, once again covers mathematics, English, basic verbal reasoning. Once they've passed these they would then go into a physical and do some job-related tests. This may still include the height test, and the claustrophobic test, and do a little bit of hose running. Once they've been successful in this they would then go and have an interview in front of some members of the fire service. If they were successful here they'd then have the medical and once passed that they'd get the letter of contract.
What skills do I need in order to be a Fire-Fighter?
To become a firefighter, the basic skills you'd need are: You need to be able to work in a team to be a firefighter. You need to have good communication skills as a firefighter. You need to be professional as a firefighter. You'd certainly need to have a good sense of humour to be a firefighter. You'd certainly need to be fairly practical as a firefighter. Basically, a firefighter must be able to work in a team and work with other people.
How long does it take to become a Fire-Fighter?
Now it takes approximately eighteen months, where you can qualify as a Fire-Fighter within eighteen months. There's a new scheme now called IPDS which is Integrated Post-Development System, whereby you gather evidence in your first eighteen months as a new recruit, as a Fire-Fighter. If you gather all the evidence, this will then be inspected by an officer and, if he deems fit, he'll then qualify you as a fire-fighter.
Do you have to be very fit to be a Fire-Fighter?
You don't necessarily have to be a super, superman or a superwoman to join the fire service, certainly now that the discrimination laws have changed and the disability laws have changed. You don't need to be a certain height to be a fire-fighter. You don't need to have perfect eyesight or hearing. You do need to keep up a generally good standard of fitness. Every year you are tested in the fire service. You have a physical examination and every three years you have a medical. So, as long as you pass the physical exam and the medical then you'll be fine.