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Firefighter

Firefighters help to protect people from fire and other dangers, and give advice on fire prevention.

Potential salary
£23,500 to £38,500
Working hours
41 to 43 a week
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • knowledge of training and how to present information
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Every day will be different, but you could:

  • inspect and maintain equipment
  • carry out practice drills and take part in training
  • respond to emergency call-outs
  • rescue people and animals from burning buildings and accident sites
  • control and put out fires
  • deal with bomb alerts and floods
  • manage chemical or hazardous substance spills
  • give presentations to schools and community groups
  • inspect buildings to make sure they meet fire safety regulations

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment and a uniform.

You could work at a fire station, at a client's home or at a client's business.

Your working environment may be at height, physically and emotionally demanding and cramped.

All fire services have a programme that lets you plan and track your career development.

You could work your way up to crew manager, watch manager or station manager. If you're prepared to move between services, you could become an area manager, a brigade manager or a chief fire officer.

If you're involved in fire safety and prevention work, you can take professional qualifications leading to membership of the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE).

You could also get a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) licence for driving fire engines.

You can ask your local fire and rescue service for a firefighter careers and recruitment pack.

Data from National Careers Service.
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