Frequently Asked Questions

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We know that a career in the fire and rescue service is extraordinary, so we have collated some answers to our most frequently asked questions that you may find useful. If you can't find what you're looking for, please speak to the staff on your local station or contact our Human Resources Team on 0115 838 8247.


Q: Are there any age or height limits? 

Height-wise, no, there is no limit anymore. With regards to age, there is no upper limit, however you must be 18 before the start of your firefighter training. Applications will be accepted from 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the time their training course starts.

Q: I have a beard for religious reasons; will I have to shave it off in order to be a firefighter?

Unfortunately yes. Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service respects everyone's religious beliefs but there are health and safety reasons as to why facial hair cannot be accepted.

As a firefighter, you will be required to wear a facemask when you are wearing breathing equipment. To ensure that the facemask forms a complete seal around your face, it is necessary to keep clean/close shaven to prevent any dangerous airborne chemicals entering the facemask.

Q: I wear glasses/have had laser eye surgery, can I apply?

Yes. Part of the recruitment process will include a medical and this will include an eye test. Our Occupational Health and Fitness Manager will determine whether your vision meets the standards required to become a firefighter.

Q: Do you have to be really strong to be a firefighter?

A common perception is that only big strong men can be firefighters but, in reality, firefighters come in all genders, shapes and sizes. There is no height restriction and you don't have to be exceptionally strong. Of course you do need to have a good level of fitness, as being a firefighter is physically demanding. The equipment can be heavy but, remember, you'll be working in a team!

Q: How fit do I need to be?

You need to have a good level of upper body strength and cardiovascular fitness to pass our selection tests and, subsequently, the training course. The required levels of strength and fitness can be found on our Yes You Can Fitness page. On this page is also a training programme that you can take should you feel you are not yet at the required levels.

It is important that you maintain your levels of fitness during your firefighting career, and all our stations have personal training instructors and fully equipped gyms to help you with this.

Q: What qualifications do I need?

No qualifications are needed to join #TeamNFRS as a firefighter.

You will, however, be required to pass a number of selection tests prior to joining - these include a literacy and numeracy test.

Q: I have a disability, can I apply?

Yes. Anyone who considers themselves to have a disability can apply to join the fire service. You will be asked if you have a disability as part of the recruitment process and to provide details of any reasonable adjustments that you may require to take part in the process and to fulfil the role of a Firefighter. Each case will be considered on an individual basis and if reasonable adjustments can be made, your application will proceed.

As an equal opportunities employer, being members of Stonewall and the Disability Two Ticks Scheme, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service welcomes applicants regardless of gender, race, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or age.

Q: Can I have a second job?

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service has a policy on secondary employment. Employees cannot engage in secondary employment without first obtaining written approval. The following considerations will apply to each application:

  • Whether there may be a conflict of interest or potential detriment to the image/good reputation of the Service.
  • Where there is serious risk of injury or illness.
  • Other Health and Safety considerations linked to the secondary employment.
  • The attendance or performance record of the applicant.
  • Any live disciplinary warnings.
  • The sickness absence of the employee.
  • Any employment arrangements which may mean that the employee is working excessive hours.

Q: What hours do you work (wholetime)?

The stations are divided into teams, more commonly known as watches, so that there is always the right number of people on duty to respond to an emergency. Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescues Service's watches currently work in shifts of two days (7am until 7pm)followed by two nights – (7pm until 7am) - then four days off.

Q: How often will I get called out (on-call)?

It's hard to say exactly how many times you will be called out, as incidents are unpredictable, however on average you're looking at being paged around 2-3 times a week. 

Q: How much time will I have to spend 'on-call' each week (on-call)?

Retained firefighters must be able to provide 84 hours of on-call cover each week. When on-call, you will be required to carry your pager with you at all times and respond to the station, when required, to crew the fire engine.

Q: Can I apply if I have a criminal record?

You will only be able to apply once your conviction is spent according to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. However minor driving convictions e.g. speeding offences will not be taken into account. There are certain spent periods for different convictions. Please refer to our Disclosure and Barring Policy which can be found here.

Q: What does the application process consist of?

The application process includes the following, in this order:

  • Submitting your application form (go on, you know you want to...).
  • Attending a job related test weekend - which includes our various job related tests, a fitness tests and a numeracy and literacy skills test.
  • A panel interview.
  • A medical at our Service Headquarters.
  • Disclosure and barring service checks. 

If you pass all of these stages and are offered a job, you will then be invited to a uniform fitting before starting a course at our Service Development Centre in Ollerton. 

It's also important to note that we require two employment references. 

Q: How long does the selection process take?

There is usually a large response to any wholetime campaign; therefore it can take 6 to 12 months to complete the whole selection process from application to offer. With an on-call application - this is usually slightly quicker.

Q: What happens next if I am successful with my initial application?

Once the closing date has passed, you will receive an email from our HR team. If you have been successful, you will then be invited to a practical selection test. You will be kept informed throughout the process if you have been successful through the stages.

Q: What happens next, if I am unsuccessful with my application?

Due to the high volume of interest we receive we regret that it is not possible to inform candidates individually of the results of their application or provide feedback. If you have not received an email inviting you to attend a practical selection test, you should assume that your application has not been successful this time.

Q: Can I choose which station I work at (wholetime)?

No, candidates will be places at stations where there are vacancies.

Q: I live outside of the Nottinghamshire boundary, can I apply (wholetime)?

Unfortunately not. To keep the application numbers at a manageable level for our recruitment team, only those within Nottinghamshire can apply.

Q: How close do I need to be to my local fire station (on-call)? 

Generally you must either live or work within a five minute drive (at normal road speed) of your closest station to be considered for a role as a retained firefighter. This is because our fire engines need to be able to respond quickly (and safely) to emergency incidents. 

Q: Can I go through the selection process whilst still serving notice in the Armed Forces?

Yes. However, you must be available to undertake the selection tests which will be held on separate dates throughout the recruitment process. This may present a problem if posted overseas. If offered a contract of employment, you must be able to start your training on the required day.

Q: How do I apply?

More information on how to apply can be found here.

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