The selection process in becoming a firefighter

Our recruitment campaign has currently been paused. We are however continuing to encourage applications to support one of our on call locations.

There are five stages in our recruitment and selection process for the role of firefighter. They are:

Stage 1 - Application and online ability tests

Once you apply online via our recruitment hub and complete the required information, you will be sent to the online assessment, which is provided by Arctic Shores.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) have worked with the experts at Arctic Shores to identify what great looks like as a firefighter. This means that each candidate can be compared to the behaviours that are crucial for high performance, in a way that is fair and objective, so that potential can be predicted consistently and accurately.

The Arctic Shores assessment focuses on behaviours and values rather than literacy and numeracy skills. The behaviour based assessment (BBA) uses a series of tasks which test against the services expected behaviours and has been proven to not adversely impact on underrepresented groups. It also supports those candidates who have neurodiverse conditions which can include Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, amongst others. This will aid recruitment from underrepresented groups, and support SFRS to be more representative of the community we serve.

The behaviour based assessment observes your natural behaviours through a series of mini tasks. The benefit of this is that you can demonstrate your true potential, whilst enjoying the experience. Interested in knowing more? Candidates are encourage to read guidance on the assessment and how you can prepare for the assessment. For more details please visit the candidate resources home page on Arctic Shores website

Font size and screen colour can be changed by the candidate to suit their individual needs.

For any candidates who do not posses GCSE Maths and English (grade C and above) or those wishing to re-take the qualification, courses for both subjects are provided by Surrey Adult Learning. Resources are also provided under the useful links section.

Stage 2 - Fitness and physical

The Service reserve the right to interchange stages 2 and 3 as required, for the needs of the service.

Firefighting can be a physically demanding and hazardous activity. A good level of fitness is key to ensure operational safety and effectiveness. The fitness assessment will be in the form of a bleep test, which is a multi-stage fitness test in which you must do 20 metre shuttle runs in time with bleeps. You will be expected to achieve level 8.8. The physical assessments are designed to assess your level of physical ability, aptitude and manual dexterity in line with requirements of the role. For more details on the tests involved, check out our page on the fitness tests for becoming a fire fighter

Stage 3 - Interview

At the interview stage, you will be assessed against the person specification as outlined in the job profile (attached below) as well as the Core Code of Ethics.

A useful way of structuring your answers is to use the following method, called The STAR method - National Careers Service.

Another useful tip, is to think about your experience, knowledge and actions in how you demonstare the Core Code of Ethics and begin making a list of examples, this will make it easier for you to chosse your strongest examples. Remember this is a competitive process and you will want to demonstrate to the panel through your examples how you uphold the Core Code of Ethics and understand the role of a Firefighter.

Stage 4 - Medical examination

Firefighters are exposed to extreme physical and psychological demands. The medical screening for firefighters is rigorous. We comply with all relevant statutory provisions and national guidance to ensure risk is reduced as is reasonably practicable. This means a medical condition giving rise to reasonably foreseeable occupational risk would not be acceptable.

Medical suitability is determined by an individual assessment. For practical reasons, this cannot be undertaken until the later stages of the recruitment process. The nature and effect of medical conditions may vary. It is therefore not possible to confirm medical conditions that would be unacceptable prior to an individual medical assessment. However, if you have a medical condition or a history of a medical condition which might present problems, the following general guidance should help you consider your medical suitability before applying.

A medical condition or functional limitation which, despite any reasonable adjustments, gives rise to an increased occupational risk of the following is unacceptable:

  • Sudden collapse or sudden incapacitation
  • Impaired judgement
  • Altered awareness
  • Substantial physical injury / ill health
  • Psychological injury / ill health
  • Any other effect which would pose a substantial health and safety risk to yourself or others.

The individual assessment will involve due consideration of any opinions or medical reports you may wish to submit. However, the decision on the significance of any risks identified will rest with the Fire and Rescue Service.

Healthy weight

A healthy weight is important. Being underweight, overweight and obese can affect a firefighter's performance and safety. Your height and weight, along with the calculation of your Body Mass Index (BMI) may be measured as part of the medical examination.

The following table shows relevant BMI ranges and weight categories:

Weight BMI (Kg/m2)
Underweight Less than 18.5
Healthy weight 18.5 to 25
Overweight 25 to 30
Obese More than 30

Stage 5 - Appointment

An offer of employment is conditional upon receipt of satisfactory references and a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Should the service receive unsatisfactory reference or DBS disclosure, the offer of employment may be withdrawn.

Upon joining the service, all trainees will be enrolled onto the Level 3 Operational Firefighter Apprenticeship Programme. The typical duration of this programme is between 18 to 24 months.

Please note, we are only able to appoint those who hold a category B manual driving license which allows for driving in the UK.

'Have a Go' sessions

Why not join us and work towards becoming #SurreyFireFit ?

We are delighted to advise that sessions occur at Guildford Fire Station on Monday at 6.30pm and Reigate Fire Station on Tuesdays at 6.30 pm (excluding bank holidays). Please see our fire stations web page for their address.

Please check the our Have a Go web page for dates in which the sessions are held as these are not weekly.

If you would like to take part or have a question, simply pop along or email the Recruitment Hub: for more information.

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