Recruitment & volunteering

Recruitment & volunteering

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

Working for Northumberland Fire & 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.

On-call (retained) firefighters

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.

Do they do the same work as whole-time 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.
Why should I consider becoming a retained firefighter?
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.
How often do we recruit retained firefighters?
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. 
How do I apply?
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. 
Useful documents for applicants

Whole-time firefighters

These are full-time professional firefighters. They are contracted to work 42 hours per week on a rotating shift pattern of two day shifts, two night shifts and four days off duty.

Why should I consider becoming a whole-time firefighter?
Being a firefighter is an inspiring job.

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

It is also a fulfilling way to gain extra skills, work as part of a team and gain a sense of achievement in providing an invaluable service to the community.
Where can I find out about the selection process?

The selection process is co-ordinated at a regional level.

Keep updated
To receive information on future recruitment drives for whole-time firefighters in Northumberland, register your details here.

If you are interested in becoming a firefighter in Northumberland, you may consider applying to be an on-call (retained) firefighter.

Any queries?
If you have any queries regarding the process for recruitment, please contact the human resources department within Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service:

Emergency control room personnel

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.

What do emergency control room personnel do?
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
Where can I find out about vacancies?

Support staff

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.

What do support staff do?
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.

Why should I consider becoming a volunteer?
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)
Why do we value our volunteers?
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
How do I become a volunteer?
If you would like to learn more about how to become a volunteer, please contact us:

Equality and diversity

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.