Is being a firefighter right for you

We welcome interest from people who want to support our community and our Service in the role of a firefighter whether this be in a full time capacity or in an on-call capacity, supporting us in addition to other commitments.

Your working week

The role of a firefighter within the Service can be carried out in full time capacity, where an average working week is 42 hours, but may be worked in shifts. For example, 48 hours over eight days. A common shift pattern is two day duties followed by two night duties (running from early evening to the following morning). This is followed by four days off duty and then the cycle is repeated. A station is divided into teams, so that there is always the right number of people on duty to respond to an emergency.

You can also be a firefighter within Surrey in an on-call capacity, where you may have full-time employment outside of the fire service but respond to emergency calls within your local area as and when required. There is no typical working week for an on-call firefighter, but you must be available to respond for at least 36 hours a week. During this time it is essential that you remain within four to eight minutes (time is specific to each is station) of your On-Call fire station should you be required to respond to an emergency.


Upon joining Surrey Fire and Rescue Service in any capacity you will be trained to the highest standards. However, the delivery of training may need to administered differently to appreciate the other commitments of our on-call recruits
The initial training will be a mix of practical and knowledge skills covering firefighting:

  • using a range of equipment and methods,
  • rescues from vehicles,
  • rescues from height using ladders and rope rescue equipment, and advanced first aid casualty care.

Training continues throughout your career as a firefighter and we are committed to helping you grow and achieve.

In a full time, capacity, you will attend a 14-week residential course at our service training centre in Reigate. Here you will learn the range of core skills required to be a confident team member when your join your watch on the fire station. Having successfully completed your initial training there is more to learn once you have joined your watch and you will continue to develop your skills and knowledge and gain a level 3 Diploma in Emergency Fire Services Operations in the Community.

In an on-call capacity, you will attend a modular course covering all the essential skills you will need. After this you will be required to attend one drill night per week where you will continue to learn about the community and the risks surrounding your Station. You will also continue to demonstrate competence in the areas covered at initial training. During this time, you will be supported in working towards an NVQ qualification, when you successfully complete it, you will be assessed and deemed a competent firefighter.

Find out more about the unique role of an On-Call firefighter

Take a look for yourself

To help understand what skills are expected of our Firefighters, and to better understand what skills you will need to be able to demonstrate through an assessment day, take the tour with us to learn more.

Our Firefighters are tested in many ways. To help you understand and prepare for this, watch these videos on our staff showing you how best to carry out this skill,

Watch a video on the best way to carry out an equipment assembly

Watch a video to understand on how best to perform the ladder lift test.

Watch a video to learn how the equipment carry is expected to be carried out and to understand what is required.

Watch a video on how best to demonstrate the skill of a ladder climb.

Watch a video on how best to perform when managing confined spaces.

(The links above to YouTube videos are from the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service official channel).

Learning and development

The Learning and Development Department will support you throughout your career with specialist training for the vehicles and equipment you will be operating, regular refresher training and personal development opportunities.

Our Learning and Development e-learning portal offers self-service learning online accessible from work or home, a flexible approach to internal training and development activities. The range of opportunities to equip colleagues with skills for continually improving services, to learn and grow, includes:

  • Mentoring and coaching services.
  • Career tasters which provide a temporary short term taster of working in another area.
  • Management development.
  • Secondments to other departments and partner organisations to build up skills in your area of interest.
  • Support with personal development planning to target individual training needs.
  • Access to the Surrey County Council e-learning modules through the County Councils Intranet site.

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