Firefighter Q&A

There are some questions that often come up when we are recruiting for firefighters. Lots of your questions will be answered as part of the recruitment process, but we’ve gathered some of the most frequent questions here for you.

If you do have further questions not on the FAQ get in touch and we’ll do out best to get back to you. Contact us.

How old do you have to be to become a firefighter?

Candidates must be at least 17 and a half years old when they submit their application.

Do I need qualifications to become a firefighter?

No, however you will be expected to sit tests which are comparable with having English and Maths GCSE’s grades A to C, along with a test to assess your mechanical reasoning.

Mechanical reasoning tests are generally used during the selection or recruitment process for jobs related to engineering, the emergency services and the army, amongst many others. They are typically used to assess how well an individual can apply reasoning in a practical environment.

 What skills do I need to be a firefighter?

Other than good fitness levels, the diverse role of a firefighter requires you to be able to:

  • Positively engage with the public.
  • Be a strong communicator.
  • Have leadership and team work skills.
  • Problem solve.
  • Be resilient handling situations under pressure.

Do I need a driving licence before I join?

No, but you will need to acquire an HGV license within three years of joining.

Can I apply if I have a criminal record?

You can apply if you have convictions which are spent.

Can I apply if I don’t live in London?

Yes, as long as you are a UK/EU citizen or a permanent resident of the UK without any work restrictions. Please refer to the Home Office website for further details. Please also note that as the role of firefighter is an extremely popular position, London Fire Brigade is unable to sponsor any applicant from another country.


We will seek details of your previous periods of employment/study for the past three years. If you are self-employed you will need to provide approximately 5 references. If you are unemployed/receiving benefits, you will need to provide proof of this.

What about training?

If successful you will initially do 6 weeks pre-course learning, all materials will be supplied to support this. The pre-course learning is done in your own time and is evaluated just before you commence the full time paid training. The pre-course learning roughly equates to between 20 and 30 hours depending on your learning style.

Will I need to pay for anything?

No, all training materials, including uniforms, fire kits etc. as well as the 11 weeks in house training is all paid for by the London Fire Brigade.

Do I get paid as a trainee?

Yes, we currently pay trainee firefighters a salary of £26,211 pa Inc. London Weighting.

Will there be opportunities to take on different roles during my career?

Yes, there are many specialist roles you can be developed into such:

  • Urban Search and Rescue
  • Fire Investigation
  • Regulatory Fire Safety
  • Tactical Advisor Rescue

What shifts will I be required to work?

The current shift system comprises of 4 shifts (2 x 10.5 hour days and 2 x 13.5 hour nights) followed by 96 hours clear from duty.

Shift 1: 09:30 – 20:00 (day)

Shift 2: 09:30 – 20:00 (day)

Shift 3: 20:00 – 09:30 (night)

Shift 4: 20:00 – 09:30 (night)

How long does the selection process take?

There is usually a large response to any campaign, therefore It can take anything from 4– 20 months to complete the whole selection process (application to offer stage). There are several stages to complete, with each stage acting as a sift.

Can I have a beard?

Sorry, no. You must be clean shaven to safely wear breathing apparatus whilst fighting fires.

News and Events