Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


On-call firefighters glossary

Alerter: Another name for a pager, which goes off when you are needed at the fire station.

Appliance: Another name for a fire engine.

Assessment day: A day where you’ll complete the fitness and written assessments required to move to the next stage of becoming an on-call firefighter. You can find more information on our assessment day video.

Availability: How many hours you agree to be on-call. This doesn’t mean you will be working for all of those hours, just that you’re being paid to be ‘available’ to respond if needed.

Bleep test: A running test where you run between two points which are 20 metres apart.

Breathing Apparatus (BA): Equipment worn by firefighters to provide breathable air when they are tackling a fire or in an area that is dangerous to breath.

Initial Contact Form: The previous form potential applicants completed. This has now changed to a new application form. It gives us your details and availability so we can contact you to start the process.

On-call firefighter: Firefighters who have everyday lives and jobs but respond to a pager to become a firefighter.

Pager: A device which you turn on when you are available to work and sounds when you are needed at the fire station.

Pump: Another name for a fire engine.

Response distance: The required distance from an on-call station that you’ll need to live or work to be eligible to apply. Usually this is within 5 minutes.

Retained / Retained firefighter: The previous name for 'on-call' or 'on-call firefighter'.

Wholetime firefighter: Firefighters who work full-time as a firefighter and are based at their stations during their shifts.

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