Becoming an on-call firefighter

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service covers the county of Norfolk with 42 stations, 39 of which have an on-call commitment.

Being an on-call firefighter is like having a part-time job – you have to commit to certain hours and you get paid for it.

About the role

A firefighter on the on-call duty system provides cover when required to respond to fire and emergency calls. An on-call firefighter uses the same appliances and equipment as wholetime firefighters.

The difference is that on-call firefighters are available in their homes or workplaces rather than at a fire station. You have to live or work within five minutes travelling distance of your on-call fire station during your hours of declared availability. 

Full training is provided. This includes courses where you will learn skills that can be transferred to your primary employment, such as first aid training and fire safety training. We provide a full uniform and paid holiday. You will receive an annual ‘on-call fee’ for being available. You will also be paid for attending fire calls, drill nights and training events.

This role offers flexible working hours and could suit people with childcare responsibilities. On-call firefighters can provide part cover (days, nights, weekends) or full cover (approximately 24/7).

To apply, you must:

  • Be over 18–years-old at the time your training starts
  • Have 2 GCSEs grade A*–C (9-4) in maths and English language, or equivalent Level 2 qualifications. Find out what qualification levels mean on GOV.UK website.
  • Be fit enough to pass the physical selection tests and medical examination
  • Live or work within five minutes travelling distance of your on-call fire station

Read our guide for potential on-call applicants

Guide for businesses on employing on-call firefighters   

Further information

NFRS is an equal-opportunity employer

We are committed to recruiting and developing a workforce that better reflects the communities we serve. Applications are particularly welcome from women and people from a wide variety of ethnic, cultural, and national backgrounds and gender identities. Visit our equality, diversity and inclusion page

Confidential arrangements are in place for checking references for transgender applicants.  

Current vacancies  

We currently have vacancies at the following locations:

  • Acle
  • Attleborough
  • Cromer
  • Dereham
  • Diss
  • Downham Market
  • Gorleston
  • Great Yarmouth
  • Heacham 
  • Hethersett
  • Hingham
  • Holt
  • Hunstanton
  • King's Lynn
  • Loddon
  • Long Stratton
  • Massingham
  • Methwold
  • Mundesley
  • North Walsham
  • Outwell
  • Sandringham
  • Sheringham
  • Stalham
  • Swaffham
  • Terrington
  • Thetford
  • Watton
  • Wells
  • West Walton
  • Wroxham
  • Wymondham 

How to apply

Before you apply check your suitability against our checklist.

Pre-application checklist

Applications forms

After you have completed the checklist and if you still want to apply, download and complete these three forms:

Application form part 1

Application form part 2

Operational recruitment monitoring form

You should save the three forms as three separate word documents and email to jobs@norfolk.gov.uk

Please note, we can only accept application forms if there is a vacancy at your chosen station. Paper copies of the application forms cannot be accepted at fire stations.

If there are no on-call vacancies

If there is no current on-call vacancy at your chosen station, you can still express your interest in the role of an on-call firefighter. Download and complete:

Expression of interest form

Email the form to jobs@norfolk.gov.uk.

This form will be held on our database for 12 months. If there is a vacancy at your chosen station within this time, you will be contacted by HR and asked to complete a full application form.

However, if there are no vacancies in 12 months your form will be destroyed. You can still complete another expression of interest form.

Some documents on this web page may not be accessible to some users. To request an alternative format email jobs@norfolk.gov.uk.

What to expect after you apply

The main purpose of the interview is to assess your general aptitude for the job and to gather examples of when and how you have used skills that are important for potential firefighters.  There are four areas that will be assessed:

  • Working with others – this is about working effectively with a variety of people whether they are in your team or in the community
  • Problem solving and decision making – this is about gathering information to evaluate risks, opportunities and potential solutions to make decisions
  • Taking responsibility for yourself and others – this is about being motivated and being able to take responsibility for achieving individual/organisational objectives and personal development
  • Confidence and resilience – this is about staying calm, confident and in control during difficult or stressful situations

If successful at the interview stage you will be invited to take part in the selection tests.

You will be required to undertake a range of physical tests to assess your fitness, strength and confidence in relation to the firefighter role.  The tests simulate some of the situations you may face as a firefighter and include:

Each of these links will take you to a Youtube video which will show you the exercises.

During the physical tests you will be wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE).

During the enclosed space test, you will also be wearing a BA facemask, which will be obscured, and a BA cylinder.

The physical tests can be physically demanding and we would advise you to consider your physical fitness at an early stage to give you the best chance of completing these successfully.

If you’re unsure if your fitness levels are up to the level of a firefighter do not despair!  Get ready to join the team by downloading our fit for duty leaflet.

Working with numbers - this test assesses your ability to understand and work with numerical information of the type you are likely to experience as a firefighter.  You have to be able to complete basic numerical calculations to work out how much hose is needed at a fire and understand simple graphs, tables, dials and gauges.  The test consists of a number of scenarios that present numerical information in a variety of formats and each scenario is followed by a number of multiple choice questions. You must use the information given in the scenario to answer the questions that follow.

Situational awareness and problem solving - this test is designed to look at your ability to ensure the safety of yourself and others and your ability to use information to solve problems.  The test consists of a number of scenarios and for each scenario you are asked to choose which answer best describes what you would do in this situation.

Understanding information - this test assesses your ability to read and understand written information of the type you are likely to experience as a firefighter, for example fire safety information, training course materials, service orders and instructions.  The test consists of a number of scenarios that present information in a variety of formats such as memos, newsletters and training manual excerpts, followed by a set of multiple choice questions.  You must use the information given in the scenario to select the correct answer.

Practice booklet

The final stage of the selection process is the medical and fitness assessment.  Candidates are required to attend an appointment with our occupational health advisers who will test your hearing, eyesight, BMI, blood pressure, lung function, urine and immunisation status and undertake a full clinical assessment.  You will also undertake a fitness assessment with our physical fitness adviser who will check your aerobic capacity, grip strength and leg and back strength.

Eyesight requirements

The best way to check that your eyesight meets the criteria is to visit your local optometrist and explain that you are considering a career as a firefighter.  Your eyes can then be checked accordingly.  Unfortunately you will not be eligible to join the service if you cannot meet the current eyesight requirements.