HOW TO BECOME A FIREFIGHTER IN THE UK

The UK firefighter selection process is difficult to pass. However, armed with the right tips and strategies your chances of success will greatly increase. If you want to become a firefighter then you need to work hard to match the personal qualities and attributes that are relevant to the role.

In this article I will teach you 5 powerful tips for passing the firefighter selection process.

HOW TO PASS THE FIREFIGHTER SELECTION PROCESS


The personal qualities required to become a firefighter

The majority of the firefighter selection process is structured around what are known as the Firefighter Personal Qualities and Attributes (PQAs).

When you make your application to join the Fire Service you should be supplied with a copy of these important qualities. If you are not provided with them you can quite easily obtain a copy of them by searching for them on the internet, as they are freely available within the public domain.

These important qualities form the basis of the role for an operational firefighter and therefore it is imperative that you use them as a basis for your preparation. When you complete the firefighter application form you should have a copy of the PQAs next to you. When you prepare for the interview you should also have a copy of the PQAs next to you.

You will be assessed in relation to the qualities throughout the varying sections of the selection process, from the initial application form through to the interview. Therefore, it is essential that you understand what the PQAs involve.

The Firefighter Personal Qualities essentially cover the following areas:

- Demonstrating a commitment to Diversity and Integrity;
- Being open to change within the Fire Service;
- Demonstrating a level of confidence and resilience;
- Having an ability to work with other people;
- Being an effective communicator;
- Having the ability to solve problems;
- Being aware of situations around you;
- Demonstrating a commitment to excellence.

Because these qualities are so important to your preparation when applying to the Fire Service, we need to take a further look at each of them individually. Read them carefully and ask yourself whether you would be capable of demonstrating the requirements of each quality:

Demonstrating a commitment to Diversity and Integrity

This basically means that you should be able to treat people fairly, both at work and within the community. Having an awareness of your community is very important to the firefighter's role. When you deal with people, both at work and within the community that you are serving, you should always maintain an open approach and accept differences such as social background, age, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation and physical appearance.

When you join the Fire Service you will be expected to uphold the relevant values, be honest, and also be accountable for your own actions. Finally, if whilst at work you notice someone behaving in an unacceptable manner, then you should be prepared to challenge that behaviour if it is inconsistent with the values of the Fire Service.

Being open to change within the Fire Service

The Fire Service is a changing organisation. As with any organisation that has a desire to continually improve, change is a must. In order for that change to be implemented successfully, firefighters need to be accepting of it. Before you apply to join the Fire Service, it is important you understand that there is a need for change, as there is in any organisation. During your career as a firefighter there will be many different changes to working practices that you will need to embrace. As technology and safety procedures/equipment improves, so will the need for working practices and procedures within the Fire Service.

When you join the service you will undoubtedly attend many incidents but there is also a preventative side to the job. You will need to be willing to participate in Community Fire Safety activities such as educating the public and school children. After all, their safe future is in your hands. Teach them well now and they will hopefully be safe for their entire lives. In essence, it is imperative that you embrace and support change as a firefighter.

Demonstrating a level of confidence and resilience

As you can imagine, as a firefighter you will attend some tough incidents. These incidents will test your physical strength, your emotional stability and your ability to remain calm when all around you is going wrong. When people are leaving burning buildings, you will be running in, using your skills and your equipment to save life and property. Therefore, with all of this in mind, you must be able to remain in control of your emotions during emergency incidents.

You must be able to remember your training and procedures and concentrate on the task in hand despite the pressure of the incident, and the panicking public around you. What would you do as a firefighter if things didn't go to plan during an incident? Would you lose confidence in your abilities or would you knuckle down, get the job done and then learn from any mistakes afterwards?

Having an ability to work with other people

As you can imagine, firefighters have to work in teams. The size of the team will depend on a number of factors including the nature of the task in hand. However, as a rule of thumb they usually work in teams ranging from 2 to 20 people. Therefore, having an ability to work effectively as a member of a team is crucial to the role. In order for a team to work effectively and efficiently the members of that team need to have a positive relationship. They don't necessarily have to personally like each other, but they need to have a good, strong working relationship. As a firefighter you will work with many different teams including members of different services such as Police and Ambulance crews. As with other members of the emergency services, you will need to have an ability to reassure and calm members of the public.

Working as part of a team also means there is a requirement for each individual to be aware of the wider team goals. For example, you may be asked by your watch manager to give a Community Fire Safety talk to a group of school children at short notice. Would you be able to prepare in time and would you have the skills required to deliver the presentation?

Finally, when you are working in the community you will need to present a positive image of the Fire Service. Naturally you will be proud to work as a firefighter and this must come across in your day-to-day work. The Fire Service has an important and respected image to protect and it will be your job as a firefighter to uphold it. Follow the above tips and you can become a firefighter.