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Retained (On Call) firefighter recruitment

Closing date: Ongoing
Salary: £ Click on Salary Information sheet below

Job description:

What is a retained (on call) firefighter ?

Retained (on call) firefighters are trained firefighters who, rather than being based at a fire station, provide on-call cover from home and/or their place of work.

They respond to emergencies when their pager alerts them, so must work and/or live within approximately four minutes travel time from the fire station. There is some flexibility within this so if you’re outside this travel time please contact our retained support team on 01609 780150 (during office hours) or fill in the form here so we can contact you.

They also attend a training evening at their station one night a week.

Which fire stations have retained firefighters?

The following stations have a retained (or volunteer) crew: 

Acomb, Bedale, Bentham, Boroughbridge, Colburn, Danby, Easingwold, Filey, Goathland, Grassington, Hawes, Helmsley, Huntington, Kirkbymoorside, Knaresborough, Leyburn, Lofthouse, Lythe, Malton, Masham, Northallerton, Pickering, Reeth, Ripon, Robin Hood's Bay, Selby, Settle, Sherburn, Skipton, Stokesley, Summerbridge, Tadcaster, Thirsk. 

Map showing our Fire Stations

Please be aware that not all stations have vacancies at all times.

(N.B Goathland and Lofthouse are volunteer stations)

Can I apply to become a retained/ on-call firefighter?

To apply to become a retained (on call) firefighter you must:

  • Be aged 18 or over at commencement of the training. You may apply if you are aged between 17 years 6 months and 18 years old as long as you are 18 years old once you commence training.
  • Work and/or live within approximately four minutes travel time from a retained fire station. (There is some flexibility within this so if you’re outside this travel time please contact our retained support team on 01609 780150 (during office hours) or fill in the form here.). We are particularly keen to recruit people who can provide daytime and weekend cover 6am-6pm or parts of.
  • Have a reasonable level of fitness.

Does a retained (on call) firefighter have to be available 24/7 to respond to emergencies?

Retained (on call) firefighters declare the periods in a week when they are available to respond to emergencies if called upon. During these times they must remain within approximately four minutes travel time of their fire station to provide a response.

What is the minimum number of hours a retained (on call) firefighter has to provide per week?

Retained firefighters have a contract which includes details of the agreed time periods they will be available to respond to incidents.

  • 120 or more hours of cover per week
  • 96 to 119 hours per week
  • 48-95 hours per week
  • Up to 48 hours per week

Applications are assessed not on the number of hours that can be provided, but whether the hours provided meet the needs of the fire station applied for.

How do I apply to become a retained (on call) firefighter?

1) Download the application pack below or you can request a paper copy by phoning our retained support team on 01609 780150. We would also suggest downloading the information pack, fitness booklet and written test practice booklet (available further down this page).

2) Complete the availability form within the application pack. If your availability does not meet the requirements of the station or your home/work address, (dependant on the hours you are able to provide), is outside the (approximate) one mile / four minute response time then your application will not be progressed.

3) Complete the Application Form within the application pack.

4) Complete the Pre-Physical Test Questionnaire within the application pack.

5) Complete the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Information Form within the application pack.

6) Return your pack by placing the Pre-Physical Test Questionnaire in a sealed envelope marked ‘Strictly Private and confidential – Occupational Health Section, HQ’. Then place that envelope together with your completed availability form, application form, copies of qualifications if applicable and the equality monitoring form in an envelope and return to CAO-HR, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters, Thurston Road, Northallerton, DL6 2ND.

Do I need any formal qualifications to apply?

No you do not have to have any formal qualifications to apply to be a retained (on call) firefighter.

If you are able to provide evidence that you have obtained certain qualifications which are listed in the application pack, and your initial application is deemed successful, you will be exempt from the written tests which form part of the application process.

Will I have to have medical examination to apply?

Yes you will be required to undertake a full medical examination by the Service’s Occupational Health Physician.

Prior to that you will be sent a Certificate of Visual Acuity Form which you must take to an optician to complete to check your eyesight. If your eyesight or medical examinations do not meet the required standard your application will not proceed any further.

Further information is available in the Information Pack.

Please note that we do not reimburse any expenses incurred in connection with the completion of the Visual Acuity form. 

What happens after I apply to become a retained (on call) firefighter?

If you are successful following your application you will be invited to undertake a number of selection tests some of which may be held at our Training Centre in Easingwold. You will be given information about the tests, the order and detail of each test before you are assessed.  

The tests are divided into three main areas:

 1          Written Tests – unless exempt

 2          Physical Tests

 3          Interview

A practice written test booklet for the written tests can be downloaded below: 

If you are successful following the recruitment process, you will be expected to attend four training nights (drill night) at your retained station and one pre-course learning day. Stations have different training nights, you can find out when it takes place at your station in the application pack and also in the Retained Station Training Nights document.

If you pass the tests and are appointed as a retained (on call) firefighter you will have to attend a 2 week course at the Service’s Training Centre in Easingwold.

Your progress during the training course will be continually monitored by written, oral and practical assessments.  You must pass this course for your appointment as a retained (on call) firefighter to be confirmed but you will be given lots of encouragement and support by the training centre staff; their aim is to help you to pass.

What happens if there are no vacancies at the station I've applied for?

There is no closing date for our retained recruitment campaign. If you apply and there are no vacancies at that fire station (for which you have applied), we will keep your details on file for 12 months and contact you if any vacancies become available during that period. 

Applicants who have been in the recruitment system longer may be successful in filling the vacancies before you. However, in this situation we will hold your details on file and re-activate your application as and when another vacancy arises.

Depending on the length of time that your details are held on file, there may be a need for you to re-take the selection tests or medical as they are only valid for a certain period of time. We would discuss this with you in full if we hold your application.

How long does the application process take?

All applications are processed as quickly as possible.

How much will I be paid?

The rate of pay for retained (on call) firefighters is dependent on availability. Retained (on call) firefighters receive a retaining fee and also receive payment for various aspects of the work they carry out (attending incidents and training sessions for example).

Information on the salary for retained (on call) firefighters can be found on the link below and also in Section 3 of the Information Pack:

 Retained (on call) firefighters also receive a paid leave entitlement.

Goathland and Lofthouse are volunteer fire stations and attract a different salary package to that detailed. Please contact the recruitment team or attend the relevant training (drill) night if you would like to know more about these stations. Volunteer firefighters are still required to apply and undertake all the tests detailed in the information pack.

I need some further information or assistance to complete the application pack.

If you need some further assistance or information please fill in the form available here and we will be in touch or call our retained support team, during office hours only, on 01609 780150.

We  hold retained (on call) firefighter recruitment events throughout the year which anyone interested in becoming a retained (on call) firefighter can call into to find out more about what the role involves. If we have any events planned you'll find the details of them on the 'Retained On Call Firefighter Recruitment Events' page of this website. 




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