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During a career as a firefighter promotion is earned on individual merit, so every new recruit has the chance to make it to even the most senior posts
There is a nationally agreed salary structure for firefighters.
Retained firefighters are paid an annual retainer, dependent on their role in the service, plus a turn-out fee for each incident they attend. Retainers start at £2,158 for a trainee while a competent retained firefighter receives £2,887. London firefighters are paid more.
Income data from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service . Figures are intended as a guide only.
Initial firefighter training takes an intensive 12 and 18 weeks to complete. It's usually held at a specially equipped training centre where you will be taught basic firefighting skills such as ladder safety, hose laying and how to use breathing apparatus. Training involves learning about fire safety and the importance of getting the fire safety message across to the local community.
You'll be required to undertake regular study, both in the training centre and out of hours, and your progress will be regularly assessed. Once you've attained your first aid certificate and got to grips with the basic skills, you'll get experience of a simulated fire, including the heat, humidity, flames and thick smoke.
On successful completion of the initial training, you'll join a fire station on probation and your performance will be continuously assessed. This development programme typically takes around two years and focuses on learning about the community and the risks surrounding your station, and showing competence in the areas covered at the training centre. Visit individual fire and rescue service websites for details of their training programme.
You'll be expected to undertake a CPD programme throughout your career, which includes attending lectures, exercises, practical training sessions and other forms of training to maintain your competence levels. You'll be responsible for developing your own skills and maintaining fitness.
A range of specialist courses are run by the Fire Service College , covering areas such as:
Relevant courses are also run by:
Promotion is earned on individual merit subject to demonstrating competence in each role and showing evidence of potential through attendance at assessment and development centres.
There's a well-structured career path, which gives real responsibility at an early stage. From the role of firefighter, career development typically runs as follows:
Beyond the level of station manager, it's often necessary to move between services to get promoted.
It's possible to specialise in a particular area of the fire and rescue service and there are opportunities to study for a foundation, undergraduate or postgraduate degree in areas such as:
Other possible opportunities include study for membership of the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) for those involved in fire safety and prevention work, or study for a general postgraduate management qualification.
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