Joining us

Becoming a fulltime, known as wholetime, firefighter at Avon Fire & Rescue Service is a really popular choice of career, because of that there are some strict criteria which we ask for:

  • You must live in one of the areas covered by Avon Fire & Rescue Service (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire and North Somerset). We will ask you to provide proof of this at each stage of the selection process. 
  • You must be aged 18 or over when the training school starts in October 2017.
  • You must have GCSEs grade A-C in Maths and English or equivalent or be prepared to undertake maths and English tests as part of the selection process.
  • You must be able to drive and have access to a vehicle.
  • You must be physically fit and have good upper body strength.

How to apply

We expect a high level of interest in these vacancies so in order to make sure we find the best people for the job there are a number of stages to the selection process. This section guides you through the  recruitment process and the timescales involved.

Stage 1: The application form

The first part of the process is the application form which will be available to download from this website from Tuesday 2 May 2017. The closing date for applications will be 17.00hrs on Monday 8 May and only hard copies of the application will be accepted. You can either post your application to HR Department, Avon Fire & Rescue Service Headquarters, Temple Back, Bristol, BS1 6EU to arrive by the closing date or deliver a copy by hand to the same address.

Any applications received after 17.00hrs on Monday 8 May will not be accepted.

There are two sections to the application form. The first section covers your personal details, including address, date of birth, driving licence details, education and qualifications and criminal/driving convictions. We will use this to check you meet our minimum essential criteria so it’s important you fill this in carefully and accurately.

The second section of the form will require you to demonstrate your knowledge of the work of the fire and rescue service, the role of a firefighter and the skills you possess which would make you suitable for the role. There is a limit of 1,500 words for this section of the application.

This is a really important part of the form so you should start to prepare for this now. It’s worth doing some research to ensure you understand the full role of a firefighter and consider the skills you possess that demonstrate your suitability for the job.

It’s a good idea to start work on a draft as soon as possible and then finalise your personal statement when the application form is launched on Tuesday 2 May. This will help you complete your form within the time period allowed.

Stage 2: Shortlisting and tests

After the closing date we will begin to shortlist potentially suitable candidates – this usually takes about one week, but could be longer depending on the level of interest we receive.

When the shortlisting has been completed we will contact all applicants to let them know whether or not they have been successful. Our preferred method of communication with you is via e-mail so it is important you provide clear and correct details in your application and that you check your email (including the ‘Junk’ folder) on a regular basis for any update on the progress of your application.

We expect to be extremely busy during this period so we would ask that you do not contact Human Resources for updates.

If you are shortlisted you will be invited to take part in a series of timed written tests relevant to the work of a firefighter, followed by a short informal discussion.

The written tests are:

  • Working with numbers test
    Firefighters need to be able to make basic mathematical calculations, for example interpreting gauges or calculating how much hose is needed at a fire. In this test you will be presented with a number of scenarios that include numerical information in a variety of formats, from graphs to gauges. For each scenario you will be asked multiple choice questions.
  • Understanding information test
    This test assesses your ability to understand and interpret the type of written information that you may commonly come across as a firefighter. You will be presented with a number of scenarios, each followed by a number of multiple choice questions that you should answer using the information contained in the scenario.
  • Situational awareness and problem solving test
    This test is designed to assess your ability to ensure the safety of yourself and others, plus your ability to use information to solve problems. You will be presented with a number of scenarios and asked to select your most likely response from a series of answers.

If you can provide original evidence that you possess GCSEs grade A-C in maths and English you will only be required to take the Situational Awareness and Problem Solving Test, which will take approximately one hour. If you cannot provide evidence of these grades you will be required to take all three written tests, which will take approximately three hours in total.

When inviting you to the written tests we will provide you with a practice booklet which we encourage you to read to help you prepare for the day. We will also ask you to provide the following on your test date:

  • Your driving licence
  • Original evidence of your GCSEs grade A-C in maths and English
  • Original evidence of your permanent home address
  • Your birth certificate or passport (as identification)
  • Confirmation of any changes to your name (by deed poll or marriage)
  • HM Forces Discharge papers (if applicable)

Once you have completed the written tests you will have a short informal discussion with one of our staff which will last around 10 minutes.

We expect the written tests and informal discussions to take place from Monday 22 May until Wednesday 7 June 2017.*

No dress code applies.

Stage 3: Fitness and strength tests

Candidates who successfully pass the short interview will be invited to demonstrate their physical ability during a series of fitness tests. This test will comprise the following two elements:

  • Run - A 1.5 mile run in timed conditions
  • Upper body strength test – A lateral pull down of between 30kg and 60kg

We expect the tests to take place in mid June 2017.*

Stage 4: Practical physical tests

Practical and physical testsCandidates who pass the fitness and strength test will be invited to attend the practical physical tests. These will be conducted in small group sessions by our training team at one of our operational fire stations.

The tests will include

  • a ladder climb;
  • a ladder lift and extension;
  • a crawl through a small tunnel wearing breathing apparatus;
  • a dummy drag;
  • an equipment carry; and
  • an equipment assembly test.

These tests replicate the type of tasks you would be expected to undertake on the training school and within the role of a firefighter. They are designed to test practical ability and the ability to follow instructions.

Some of the tests are conducted to set time constraints and you will be advised on the day whether you have passed or failed the tests. All tests must be passed to move forward to the next stage of the process.

We expect the tests to take place between mid June and early July 2017.*

Stage 5: Interview

The final stage of the selection test is a one hour interview which will be conducted by a panel of two members of our staff.

The panel will review your application form and ask questions about the information you provided. There will also be a series of standard questions asked.

This is your final opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of the varied role of a firefighter. It is much more than the operational response to 999 calls as it involves protecting the community and preventing incidents from occurring.  Firefighters do this by engaging with people within the community and educating them on a range of personal safety topics, including fire.

There is a lot of information on this website and at about the wider role and the work we are involved in. We encourage you to read this and conduct wider research to help you answer the interview questions.

We expect the interviews to take place in mid to late July 2017.*

Stage 6: Medicals and job offers

Following the interviews we will select our chosen candidates to undergo a full medical. Those who pass will be given a conditional job offer to attend a training school in October 2017.

All job offers are made on a conditional basis, subject to receipt of satisfactory references and other pre-employment checks.


*All dates are provisional and subject to change.