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Firefighter - am I mad to apply?

(22 Posts)
naturalbaby Wed 10-May-17 10:13:50

I'm considering applying to become a wholetime firefighter. I have primary school aged kids and have been a sahm so never needed childcare. Dh works fairly locally but there have been a few events where he's not been able to help me out with appointments and kids commitments. My parents live locally and work full time but can help if needed with enough notice. We're considering other options like an au pair or nanny share.

I'm tempted to just apply and figure it out as we go, if I get accepted. Realistically I have no idea what it will be like - there don't seem to be many firefighters about but I'm hoping one or 2 will see this and let me know!

tammytheterminator Wed 10-May-17 13:51:06

I think it would help if you could get an idea of the shift patterns/hours. I was working with a couple of firefighters last year (they were moonlighting!) and they seemed to work four days on four days off.

Lots of fire stations around here seem to recruit for part-time volunteer fire fighters. I would go down that route in the first instance to check if it's for you.

tammytheterminator Wed 10-May-17 13:55:02

BTW, they get hundreds of applicants so you really need to be well prepared. A friend at uni applied. He got through but there was a really long waiting list to start (about 18 months?). About half of the applicants get knocked out at the English and Maths test. My friend (who sounded like a firefighter from Eastenders) went off and did a PhD instead... confused

Supersmith Wed 10-May-17 13:56:14

Go for it! It sounds like a really interesting job and it's something I'd love to do personally.

MollyHuaCha Wed 10-May-17 13:57:26

Good for you. A really worthwhile profession.

MyfatheristheKing Wed 10-May-17 14:06:33

Apply, go for it. My DH applied for the Scottish intake last year. He made it through all the rounds, initial application, maths test, situation test, bleep test, and all the physical assessments and then on to the interview. He was unsuccessful at the interview stage, but I was very proud. Apparently there was around 5500 applicants and only 100 positions. He has good transferable experience and is incredibly fit. He was sad he didn't get the job but it would have meant a move for us, but they are going to be looking again but for local stations. For him it would have been four on and four off, two day shifts followed by two night shifts. Pay looked not bad and after the initial training they are always training and learning new things. If you think you can juggle it with childcare then why not apply and see where it takes you smile

naturalbaby Wed 10-May-17 15:58:40

Oh wow, thanks for the feedback. I'm not expecting to get through, but quietly hoping - I've been told our area has very high standards of recruitment and training. I was going to apply for something similar but different and this opportunity has come up first. I've got the shift patterns for all the local stations - all different and could be working in any if I get through.

I've got no idea how to prepare. Fudged my way through the online bit with DH and haven't done any real work (apart from kids homework) for ages. Am just naively assuming I'll be ok on the written and maths tests, and the fitness stuff.

My family has quite a few changes coming up in the next 12months so I'm wary of committing as I don't know the impact of me working on the other stuff. I need to get out of this mindset though - it's kept me out of work for nearly 10yrs.

TwoBeams Wed 10-May-17 16:01:56

Go for it! They're actively looking for women to join up. I thought about it before but I've got quite bad asthma during the summer months so I decided against it.

MyfatheristheKing Wed 10-May-17 16:33:57

Do they offer an idea of what the math test is? It is a good idea to try and find out and get a little practice in. Do you have to do a bleep test? If you don't already run then I would start practicing for it. You can get apps that have the test on it but we bought the one from iTunes which was easier. Even if you already run I would definitely do some practices of the bleep test. Find out what the physical assements are and then practice what you can. I think the math and situation tests are what take most people out of the running, so I would be brushing up on that for sure. In DH's group several people failed the bleep tests and the physical assessments

naturalbaby Wed 10-May-17 20:26:54

I exercise regularly (crossfit and running) so am hoping that will get me through. Have already done an online maths test so am hoping that's it for Maths!
What's the situation test? I did an online test that was multiple choice with situation scenarios - what would you do questions.

MyfatheristheKing Wed 10-May-17 21:34:41

Yes that was similar, but each force will have different tests I imagine so worth checking it out, if you've still got more to do. Sounds like you will do fine smile

Shellym13 Mon 22-May-17 16:54:04

I'm a firefighter and I absolutely love it! I changed careers just over 3 years ago and have just passed my training in september. I'm not going to lie, it's probably one of the hardest things I've ever done but so worthwhile, I'm the only female in a station of 50 but all the guys i work with are fantastic.
Feel free to send me a pm if you want to ask any questions. I work for the Scottish service and do 2 X 10 hour days then 2 X 14 hours nights (16 hours on a Saturday). I dont think I could go back to 9-5, you get so much more time off with shifts but you do work a lot of public holidays and weekends including Xmas.
Best of luck to you!

2014newme Mon 22-May-17 16:57:04

If you're happy to work Xmas, bank holidays, your kids birthdays, crack on.

Shellym13 Mon 22-May-17 17:00:25

I actually love Xmas in the station, we cook our own Xmas dinner and make the most of it. Ofcourse I'd rather be home with my family but I know what I was taking on. You can get swops with people even for those days.
I suppose someone has to do it.

naturalbaby Tue 30-May-17 09:33:36

I'm through to the physical tests so am thinking about the interview next. A few people now have said I'll get through but I'm also hearing about people that fail at the interview stage. It's all so new so knowing what they're looking for is difficult to figure out. I've also been told the training is 10-12 weeks so am wondering how DH is going to manage working full time!
Thanks Shelly, will pm you.

Shellym13 Tue 30-May-17 09:47:41

Brilliant news! Yes the interview can be tricky. It's usually pqa (personal qualities and attributes) based questions. There's some great info here if you haven't been on the site. Www.fireservice.co.uk
Pm me anytime!

naturalbaby Wed 12-Jul-17 22:08:25

I wanted to update as I'm so grateful for the tips and advice, I really wasn't sure how I'd do after being out of work for so long and knowing nothing/nobody in this field.
So I made it through the assessments so subject to passing checks and training I will be a firefighter! I am so excited/scared and can't wait to start.
Thank you mumsnet!

choppolata Wed 12-Jul-17 22:10:05

Oh well done!! Congratulations!

myusernamewhichisthis Wed 12-Jul-17 22:11:45

good for you!
im a police officer who joined at 37 many moons ago! best of luck xxx

Nowthereistwo Wed 12-Jul-17 22:16:36

Well done for following your dream. Good luck with the training.

Shellym13 Wed 12-Jul-17 22:34:28

Woo hoo welcome to the club! it's so rewarding and every day is different. Enjoy the training, it's tough but you will get through.
Well done xxx

myusernamewhichisthis Wed 12-Jul-17 22:42:19

we now share a station with fire.
id rather be fire tbh! they have a lovely new shiny kichen and gym, and air con.
you go through our door ( we call it the door of doom) and there are no such luxuries. the air con is tuned off, our chairs look like they were pulled from a skip in 1998 and nothing works. our kitchens are furnished with a microwave and bugger all else. nothing shiny. our half of the gym is grim. stuff saved from a skip from other defunct gyms. its laughable!! enjoy fire i say!

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