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Wholetime Firefighter

We are looking for forward thinkers, keen learners, and great communicators. Can you keep your cool when things heat up?




Closing Date:

2 October 2022 at Midnight




Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes


Headquarters, Stocklake, Aylesbury, HP20 1BD


£24,191 – £32,244 a year


  • Full time
  • Permanent contract
  • 42 hour week
  • Firefighter Pension Scheme
  • Good annual leave entitlement
  • Employee benefits
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Occupational Health
  • Free onsite parking
  • Onsite gym facilities

If you need more, becoming a Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service Wholetime Firefighter can offer you a rewarding, exciting and varied career. Our crews respond to any type of major and minor incident: from road, rail or air crashes, floods, chemical spills and fires to rescuing people trapped in confined spaces.

When they are not answering the call for help Firefighters play an active role in the community through safety advice events, education activities and campaigns. As well as being physically fit enough to pull ladders, run hoses and wear breathing apparatus they need a range of personal skills such as understanding, reliability, flexibility and the ability to work as a team.

The Wholetime Firefighters salary is in line with National pay scales at time of advert:

  • Basic annual wage for a Trainee firefighter £24,191 during the initial basic training
  • Rising to £25,198 Development Firefighter annual wage until the end of the development programme
  • Once competent the Firefighter role attracts a salary of £32,244 (rising to £37,080 for those working on our flexi-firefighter duty system)

We run a flexible and sustainable workforce that maximizes the contribution of all employees to changing service needs. All successful candidates can enhance earning potential through extra shifts.

BFRS Wholetime Firefighters work various shift patterns, these currently include days, nights and weekends.

It is our philosophy to embed equality, diversity, fairness and inclusion into everything that we do. We view this as fundamental to achieve our vision of making Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes the safest areas in England in which to live, work and travel.

Before applying find out what it takes to become a Firefighter visit . This page walks you through our vigorous recruitment process. It covers what to expect at our residential Firefighter training and contains links to our Firefighters level 3 apprenticeship.

Who are we looking for?

There are some basic eligibility criteria you must meet before you can apply to become a Firefighter. You must be;

  • At least 18 years old by 2 October 2022
  • Hold a full UK driving licence (must have passed test by completion of application)
  • Live within 20 miles of the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes border
  • Have Level 2 Functional Skills (Basic & key skills builder function) BKSB or GCSE’s in Maths and English Language A* – C (9 – 4) Proof of Certificates held will need to be provided. Please ensure you’re able to provide these as they will be required to complete your application
  • A confident swimmer

We also look for candidates who have

  • A ‘Can Do’ attitude
  • A keen interest in the Fire and Rescue Services
  • A willingness to learn
  • The ability to communicate effectively with a range of people
  • The ability to work in a team environment
  • The ability to achieve a good level of physical fitness
  • The ability to follow instructions
  • The ability to think about the bigger picture in a dynamic and challenging environment

The recruitment process

There are seven steps to our recruitment process. You must pass each stage before moving on to the next.

Please note that if you are successful with your initial application, you will be required to attend a number of events as detailed below:


Bleep Test 19 & 21 October 2022 (you will only be required to attend one of these)
Role Related Tests Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue – Role Related Tests – Bing video 31 October / 2 & 4 November 2022 (you will only be required to attend one of these)
Interview and Presentations w/c 21 November 2022
Medicals / Disclosure & Barring Service w/c 12 December 2022
Kit Fitting w/c 9 January 2023

Successful candidates will be issued with formal offers of employment. Once in role the qualification achieved through the two-year apprenticeship period is Level 3 Operational Firefighter Apprenticeship. For more information on this qualification please click here Operational firefighter / Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

If you would relish the opportunity of working for an innovative, forward thinking, progressive fire and rescue service, that encourages developing a range of skills to help serve the community, then we would love to hear from you.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fitness test for Wholetime Firefighters?

Read answer

As part of our Wholetime Firefighters fitness tests you will be required to complete the Bleep Test to a level 8.6, as well as the completion of 3 strength tests. These include Equipment Grip and Carry (testing aerobic endurance and grip), Ladder Haul-Aloft (testing upper body strength) and a Push-Pull test. If you are considering applying, it is advisable that you start working on your fitness and strength in advance. If you are successful at the early stages of the process, you will then be ready for the fitness test. It is also important that you maintain your fitness.

If I am a Wholetime Firefighter, can I have a second job?

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Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service has a service policy that secondary employment has to be authorised by the Service. Any application for secondary employment from an employee on our Firefighter Apprenticeship scheme will only be considered after six months of service.

Can I choose which fire station to work at?

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Unfortunately not. As a Firefighter you agree to serve at any station within Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service. All successful candidates may be required to work within any of the duty systems employed within BFRS. When placing Firefighters we must take into account where we need to fill vacancies. However, we will review skills of all new employees and try to place them at a station and watch that will help them develop further.

What are different coloured watches?

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Operational employees working at a fire station which runs a shift system are split into four rota groups known as ‘watches’ – White, Red, Blue and Green. The four rota groups ensure we can provide a continual service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from that station.

Do you have separate changing facilities for male and female Firefighters?

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Every Firefighter has access to a room which can be used as a private changing facility if required.

Do I need to be able to swim?

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All of our Firefighters are trained in water rescue and therefore applicants need to be able to swim and be able to rescue themselves from calm water.

Do I need to be able to drive?

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Yes, you need to hold a full UK driving licence with no pending issues at the point of application.

Do Wholetime Firefighters have to work weekends and public holidays?

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Firefighters whose shift/work pattern falls on a weekend or public holiday will be required to work. There is the option to take leave, subject to a maximum number of people being on leave at any one time. This is to make sure our fire appliances have enough people on duty to crew them. Firefighters who are required to work a public holiday will receive the relevant enhanced pay.

Is there an age limit for Wholetime Firefighter applicants?

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You have to be a minimum of 18-years old at the start of your employment. There is no upper age limit. As long as you are physically fit and can pass the fitness test you can become a Firefighter.

Would a criminal record prevent me from applying to be a Wholetime Firefighter?

Read answer

A criminal record does not necessarily prevent you applying for a role. Applicants are asked to declare any criminal convictions during the recruitment process, and we expect honesty in declarations of any convictions or charges. If an applicant declares a conviction or charge it will not necessarily prevent them from progressing any further through the recruitment process, however the matter will need to be risk assessed and discussed between the person concerned, the line manager and Human Resources.

How often do you check your Firefighters’ driving licences?

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We undertake driving licence checks on all employees every three years.

Would a driving offence prevent me from applying to be a Wholetime Firefighter?

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Not necessarily. We will undertake a driving licence check through an external contractor as part of the pre-employment clearance stage. So please be honest on your application. Let us know of any driving convictions, fines, etc. that you have had in the past, as some still appear even though they are spent.

Why is there a requirement for Firefighters to have a driving licence?

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Firefighters may be required to provide cover at another fire station at short notice. They will need to get there, along with their fire kit, and therefore will need to be able to drive. There may also be a requirement to progress to driving fire appliances in the future.

Is my address within a 20-mile radius of your county border?

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Unfortunately, we are unable to check every individual address query before shortlisting. You could however carry out a postcode check on the internet to gain a rough idea of how close to the border you are. We would recommend if you think you are within a location close enough that you submit your application. All addresses will be being checked during the shortlisting stage to confirm the distance from the county border.

Why do you restrict applications to people who live within a 20-mile radius of your county border?

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We seek to represent the communities we serve in the make-up of our organisation. By employing people from our communities, we enhance our organisations local knowledge. We also contribute to the economic growth of our communities by providing local jobs for local people. During the recruitment process you will be asked to provide proof of your home address.

Is being a Firefighter dangerous?

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We have developed a very positive approach to health and safety, and set extremely high standards and expectations in this area. We appreciate our work can never be hazard-free, however we have adopted an assertive, safe and effective approach to how we operate. Our Firefighters work within a competency framework, receive regular training, and are issued with effective personal protective equipment such as helmets and other fire kit. Safe systems of work are established with a high level of command and control.

Would somebody’s size affect their application to be a Wholetime Firefighter?

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No – this is a popular misconception, because there used to be restrictions on height, weight and chest expansion. Candidates are expected to pass strength and fitness tests as part of the recruitment process. The tests are at a level that’s achievable by men and women of all different sizes and builds.

Are Firefighters allowed to drink or smoke?

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We have a policy which prohibits the use of drugs, alcohol and smoking in all of our premises.

Do you have to have good hearing to be Wholetime Firefighter?

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Yes, there is a requirement to have good hearing in line with functional standards (with artificial aids, where applicable) to be a Firefighter.

I wear glasses and have had corrective eye surgery. Can I apply for a Wholetime Firefighter role?

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You will be expected to attend an eye test as part of your application, and the optician will test you for colour vision. Individuals with either normal colour vision or slightly abnormal green colour vision are suitable for appointment to the Fire Service. Please refer to the Visual Entry Standards for more information – click here to find out more.