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How to join

Getting started might seem a little overwhelming, but don't worry, we'll be right here with you every step of the way.

Becoming a firefighter involves several stages, and the best part is, you get to choose the pace that suits you best. If you're ready now and meet all the essential criteria, you can apply in our February recruitment round. If you're not quite ready and need some time to get the essential requirements, we will open again in July. 

Before you apply, we recommend that you take the time to read all the guidance below, so you are confident you meet the standards before you apply.

Stage 1 - Initial application form

The first stage to becoming a firefighter is our online application form. This is where you fill in your personal details and explain how you meet the eligibility criteria. What we will need from you:

  • Eligible to work in the UK
  • Able to travel to any fire station in Essex
  • Have a valid email address
  • Have GCSE A*-C (9-4) or Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English.
  • Full UK Driving Licence (manual)
  • You meet the vision criteria - please refer to FAQ's Entry Requirements 

Stage 2 - Psychometric online assessment

You will be required to complete a series of psychometric online assessments.

These assessments help to provide more information about you and your natural behaviours, reactions and decision making.

This stage is an important part of our selection process and will help us shortlist candidates for the next stage which is the physical assessment.

Stage 3 - Physical assessment day

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Making sure you have a good level of fitness is an important part of being a firefighter.

If you have been shortlisted following the psychometric assessment, you will be invited to an assessment day.

Here you can choose to attempt an aerobics fitness test first (the Bleep Test or Chester Treadmill Test). If you pass this, you’ll be required to complete the remainder of the full physical assessment which includes:

  • Manual Dexterity Test
  • Ladder lift
  • Equipment carry
  • Dummy drag
  • Confinement chamber
  • Ladder climb

Go to our Firefighter Fitness page for more information.

Stage 4 - Interview

Once you complete the assessment day you will be invited to the interview. This will be based around our Service’s values, the national Code of Ethics for firefighters and NFCC Leadership Framework.

We are looking for the right people who are able to evidence they have the behaviours and attitudes that align with our own. You can found our values here. 

The interviews will take place either face-to-face or online depending on availability. Your preference will be taken into consideration.

Stage 5 - Assessment Centre

Those of you who have demonstrated you have the values, traits, behaviours and fitness to have progressed this far will be invited to attend our Service Training Centre for a series of practical and team working activities which will form the final assessment.

You will also be required to undertake a fitness validation.

Stage 6 - Pre-employment checks

Before you join us you will be required to have an occupational health assessment, provide three years of employment (or education) and character references, proof of eligibility to live and work in the UK. You will also be required to undertake an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.

It's never too late to change your career

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is recruiting wholetime firefighters while challenging the myths around being a firefighter. Firefighter Hannah Porter thought it was too late to change her career. She took the leap from a career in nursing to join the fire service.

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