Recruitment & volunteering

This page provides information about employment within Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service.

Whole-time and retained firefighters tackle a wide range of emergency situations.

Our firefighters also work closely with local communities to increase safety awareness and help to prevent emergencies.

Not everyone who works for the service is involved with firefighting. We employ a number of staff who provide vital support to our firefighters, such as emergency control room personnel, support staff and volunteers.
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service has entered into a regional recruitment process along with Durham and Darlington and Tyne and Wear Fire Services. Whilst it is not Northumberland’s intention to fill vacancies within 2018, we will be looking to produce a list of successful candidates that we can draw upon as vacancies arise.


Our firefighter recruitment is now open




You will need to complete a pre-qualification questionnaire, this will be followed by practical and role-related tests. Those successful will then go through to a face to face interview.
Please don’t all rush to submit your details as soon as the window opens, you will have plenty of time across the 5 days and it certainly isn’t first come, first served.
Below there is  lots of information on the recruitment process
We wish all applying the very best of luck. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!  #JoinTeamNFRS

Take a look at our information flyer, the candidate information pack and the information below to find out more about the recruitment process.
The demands of our fire service have changed considerably in recent times and the role of a firefighter has grown and adapted from the traditional image of rescuing people from a burning building. While we do still attend fires, we also attend road traffic collisions, people trapped, floods and storms, water and rope rescues, chemical spillages and training to respond to the growing threat of terrorism. Therefore the role and requirements of our firefighters have changed in response.

Thankfully, overall the number of incidents we attend is decreasing. That’s where our prevention and protection work comes in. Both are a key focus for us; so that we can continue to reduce the number and impact of incidents in Northumberland. Our firefighters contribute to this work.

They spend a lot of their time in the community delivering fire prevention advice and other safety messages. They visit people and help them to avoid fires in the home and to plan what to do if one occurs. This involves conducting home safety checks and fitting smoke alarms. They also deliver presentations and talks to schoolchildren, community and voluntary groups to educate and promote fire safety.

Treating people with dignity and respect is at the heart of what we do. Our communities are diverse and we work hard to meet their needs through the services we provide. Our Firefighters must be able to communicate effectively with all individuals, religious groups and people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.

There are a number of videos online which will give you more information and may help to give you an insight into the role of a Firefighter. Please watch Durham and Darlington’s video for more information. 

The following information is designed to give you an indication of the recruitment process, what to expect and what will be required of you. Please read the wholetime firefighter candidate information pack for more detailed information on the recruitment process. 

In summary, here are a list of key dates for the current recruitment process:

  • 9 - 13 July 2018                      Registration, job preview and eligibility screening
  • 16 - 18 July 2018                    Behavioural style questionnaire
  • 20 - 23 July 2018                    Situational judgement test
  • 25 - 30 July 2018                    Ability tests (numerical, mechanical & verbal)
  • 6 - 10 Aug 2018                      Role related tests
  • 20 - 31 Aug 2018                    Interview
  • TBC                                         Fitness test and occupational health medical 
  • TBC                                         Pre-employment checks

Watch Tyne and Wear FRS's video to find out more about the taster sessions.

Stage 1 – Registration and online tests

During the registration period, candidates will need to apply and complete a pre-qualification questionnaire.  This allows better understanding on whether it is the right career choice for you.

Practical tests
You will be asked to complete a series of online assessments which include:

  • Behavioural Styles Questionnaire (BSQ)
  • Situational Judgement Test (SJT)
  • Ability Test (Verbal, Mechanical and Numerical Reasoning)

You will receive a pass or fail after each round of tests. Please note that there is no right to appeal your test results. Candidates who successfully pass all three ability tests will be invited via email to attend a one day practical assessment.

Stage 2 – Role related tests
Applicants will attend the role related (physical) tests which are held at a training facility. You will be sent a link to book your assessment at a location and time suitable to you.

The role of a firefighter is physically demanding, and it is important for us to assess your ability to handle the situations and challenges you will face. We do this through a series of physical and practical tests.
These consist of:

  • Ladder Climb - testing your confidence with heights.
  • Casualty Evacuation - testing your upper and lower body strength as well as your co-ordination.
  • Ladder Lift - to test your upper and lower body strength as well as your co-ordination.
  • Enclosed Space - tests your confidence, agility and stamina when working in enclosed spaces.
  • Equipment Assembly - designed to assess your manual dexterity and co-ordination.
  • Equipment Carry - tests your upper and lower body strength as well as your co-ordination.
Stage 3 - Interview
Applicants will attend an interview which will last around an hour and will be of a formal nature. This will be our chance to get to know more about you and for you to ask any questions you have about the roles available.

Stage 4 – Fitness test and medical
Applicants will attend a fitness test and medical to ensure you meet the nationally agreed health and fitness standards of a firefighter. This will include:
  • VO2 max treadmill test
  • Alcohol and drugs test
  • Blood pressure
  • Eyesight test
  • Hearing test
  • Grip test
  • Lung function test

If you have any further questions or require more information, please refer to our visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Stage 5 – Pre-employment checks
We now need to check your references and carry out an enhanced check under the Disclosure and Barring Service (previously known as the Criminal Records Bureau). This process can take some time but don’t worry, we will get in touch as soon as we have everything back.

Once we have references and received confirmation of a satisfactory enhanced check we will be in a position to offer you the post of a firefighter.

If you have any further questions or require more information, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Further information on the selection process 
The selection process is centred around the National Fire Service Personal Qualities and Attributes (PQAs). These include:

  • Commitment to diversity and integrity
  • Working with others
  • Commitment to excellence
  • Effective communication
  • Commitment to development
  • Openness to change
  • Problem solving
  • Resilience
  • Confidence
And the behaviours we are looking for are: 
  • Discipline
  • Professionalism
  • Dedication

How we will use your data
Under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) any data collected in the course of any recruitment campaigns will be used by Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service and / or our recruitment partners for quality assurance purposes pertaining to the individual campaign. Following the conclusion of each campaign, your data will be securely disposed of and you will need to re-register for any other campaign that you wish to apply for.

Any queries?
If you have any queries regarding the recruitment process, then please take a look at the candidate information pack and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). If you are unable to find an answer to your query, then please contact the human resources department at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service at
Retained firefighters are professional firefighters who are on-call for a specified number of hours each week to respond to emergency calls within their local area.

Many retained firefighters have full-time employment outside of their duties as firefighters.
Retained firefighters are contracted for two hours per week to attend training sessions, as well as additional hours per week to be available on-call to attend emergency call-outs and to deliver community safety work.

You can combine this with doing another job. However, retained firefighters must live no further than five minutes travel time from their local fire station and must be able to give the level of availability required.
Being a firefighter is an inspiring job.

You will perform essential services for your community and have the chance to develop experience and skills in team working, management and leadership through a variety of training opportunities.

Furthermore, you will be paid for any emergency incidents you are called to and for your involvement in community safety activities.

Becoming a retained firefighter is a fulfilling way to add extra skills and money to your life, as well as a sense of achievement in providing an invaluable service to your own community.
Training courses for new retained firefighters are run two or three times per year and trainees are drawn from a pool of successful candidates, based on the fire stations that have vacancies at that time. 
If you have the flexibility and commitment we’re looking for, and would like more information, please contact us or visit your local fire station. If you would like to apply to be a retained duty fire fighter, then please click here to download a copy of the application form. 
Our emergency control room personnel receive all emergency calls.

The control room is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year and is crewed by four watches that work both day and night shifts.
As well as taking and responding to 999 calls, emergency control room personnel are responsible for:
  • receiving emergency and non-emergency calls from a range of sources, including out-of-hours calls made to both the fire service and county council
  • mobilising resources to emergency incidents, for instance, firefighters on appliances, supervisory officers and specialist units
  • maintaining communication with fire crews and officers during incidents
  • mobilising additional resources and equipment to incidents, as required
  • maintaining information on operational resources
  • liaising with other emergency/non-emergency agencies e.g. police, ambulance or the environment agency
Not everyone who works for the fire and rescue service is directly involved in fighting fires.

Crucial functions are also carried out by our support staff working across the county.

They play a vital role in maintaining the operational effectiveness of our services and therefore make an important contribution to helping keep the public safe.
We currently employ support staff in a range of different roles, including:
  • clerical and administrative
  • human resources
  • technical
Where can I find out about support staff vacancies?
We have been running a volunteer scheme since 2010 and have a number of volunteers working within the service.

Volunteers provide valuable support to the young firefighters association, community safety academy programmes, home fire safety checks and West Hartford’s community boxing academy.

The service continues to recruit new volunteers to help support its work with local communities in Northumberland.
There are many benefits to becoming a volunteer, including opportunities to:
  • gain new experience
  • build your CV
  • develop and share new skills
  • help your community
  • become a valued member of the team
  • choose convenient days and times to work
  • travel expenses are reimbursed
  • free lunch (at our headquarters canteen, or lunch expenses for up to £5 when working more than four hours are reimbursed)
The volunteering scheme provides many benefits to the individuals, but also the volunteers themselves give the fire and rescue service just as much back.

Here are just some of the things our volunteers contribute:
  • the value of their time
  • support to the service team as it serves and engages with the community
  • individual skills, experiences and knowledge which help to strengthen effectiveness
  • greater diversity within the service, thus a greater representation of the community
  • they help the service to deliver the best possible support to Northumberland
  • they help make Northumberland safer and stronger
If you would like to learn more about how to become a volunteer, please contact us:
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service is committed to equality of opportunity and diversity in employment.

We welcome applications from all sectors of the community and we aim to recruit a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we serve.

Women and ethnic minorities are under-represented within the service and are therefore actively encouraged to apply for positions that become available.