Recruitment - Fire

On-call Firefighter Development

Should you be successful in your application to become an on-call firefighter your initial employment will be on the basis of a development period of 42 months.  You will attend induction day/evenings at the Service Learning and Development Centre and drill night sessions at your fire station.  Following this you will complete the Safe to Ride Course which equips you with the skills to work within the confines of your fire station and under close supervision, attend operational incidents.

Over the next 42 months your ongoing performance will be assessed, reported on and reviewed by your supervisory managers and training instructors.  In order to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to become a competent on-call firefighter you must be prepared to embark on a period of structured training and assessments.

In addition to your weekly training session you may be required to attend additional training sessions.  It should be noted that you will not reach the required standard without considerable commitment.

Career Progression

All members of the fire and rescue service start their career gaining the essential front-line experience and training needed to become a competent firefighter.  For those on-call firefighters seeking promotion, there may be opportunities available to progress to the roles of Crew Manager and Watch Manager depending on service needs.

Practical Tests

As part of the selection process, you will be required to undertake physical tests, which aim to assess your level of fitness, strength and manual dexterity as well as your level of confidence in simulated exercises.  These tests are designed to reflect operational practice and may change from time to time.

Candidates will be asked to complete a medical screening form prior to undertaking any of these tests.  This is to ensure that individuals are fit enough to undertake them.

There are currently six tests that make up the National Firefighter Physical Tests.  These are:

  • Enclosed space.
  • Ladder climb.
  • Casualty evacuation.
  • Ladder lift.
  • Equipment assembly.
  • Equipment carry.


Ladder Climb

This is a test of confidence whilst working at height.  Candidates must demonstrate the correct 'leg lock' at ground level before commencing the test.  Wearing the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided, including a harness, candidates must ascent a fully extended 13.6 metre ladder to approximately second storey height and demonstrate a 'leg lock'.

The candidate will then be required to lean back with arms outstretched and describe a symbol shown on the floor.  The candidate will then descend the ladder.  You will have to perform this within a specified time.

Casualty Evacuation

This is a test of lower and upper body strength.  Wearing the PPE provided, candidates will be required to drag a 55kg casualty walking backwards (guided by an assessor) around a 30 metre course.  You will have to perform this within a specified time.

Ladder Lift / Lower Simulation

Again, this is a test of upper and lower body strength.  Wearing the PPE provided, candidates will be required to raise a bar 75cm off the ground to a height of 182cm and back down to the 75cm support.  The weight of the bar at the lifting point will start at 5kg.  The maximum load to be added is 15kg.  This test is to be completed within a specified time.

Enclosed Space

This is a test of confidence, agility and possible claustrophobia whilst working in an enclosed space.  Candidates in the PPE provided and wearing a Breathing Apparatus facemask will be required to negotiate a measure crawl-way within a set time.  Half the route will be with clear vision and the other half with obscured vision.  You will be required to perform specific tasks during the test.  Full instructions will be given prior to the start of the test.

Equipment Assembly

This is a test of manual dexterity.  Candidates will be required to assemble and disassemble an item of equipment and follow the colour-coded diagrams provided.  This test is to be completed within a specified time.

Equipment Carry

This is a test of aerobic fitness, muscular strength and stamina. You will be need to carry equipment over a course, marked out using cones, which are at 25 metre and 50 metre distances. The items are laid out in the order which they are to be used.

  • You will start holding the hosereel at waist height.
  • Run the hose to the furthest cone 50 metres away and place it down.
  • Run back to the start and pick up the two coils of red hose by the handles.
  • Drop the first length at 175 metres (cone 2) and the second at 200 metres (start).
  • Pick up the hose on the start line by the centre lugs and carry at chest height down to the second cone and place it down.
  • Pick up the hose at the 25 metre cone by the centre lugs and carry at chest height down to the third cone and place it down.
  • Then run three lengths (150 metres).
  • Pick up and carry the hard suction hose and basket strainer 4 lengths (200 metres).
  • Run 4 lengths (200 metres) with no equipment.
  • Then pick up 20kg kettle and carry it for 4 lengths (200 metres). Change carry arm if required.


This test needs to be achieved within a set time.

Please note: equipment carry tests on some websites are out of date. The criteria detailed above is the current test.


Psychometric tests consist of a series of multiple choice questions designed to assess your abilities and aptitude for becoming a firefighter. There are two sets of  psychometric tests to complete which are listed below, these tests will take approximately three hours, test guidance notes and practice booklets will be sent to individuals separately. 

National Firefighter Ability Tests

This consists of three papers to be completed in a set time, they include:

  • Working with numbers.
  • Understanding information.
  • Situational awareness and problem solving.


National Firefighter Questionnaire

This has been designed to provide information on personal style and behaviour.  The information given will be considered alongside other parts of the selection process to decide if you are suited to becoming a firefighter.


The purpose of the interview is to assess your general suitability for the role of a firefighter.  It will last up to 45 minutes and you will be asked to confirm your availability and commitment to the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service.  As part of the interview you will be asked to provide evidence of the right to live and work in the United Kingdom and undertake a DBS (previously CRB) check.

Medical and Eyesight Tests

This is the last stage in the recruitment process.  Candidates are required to undertake a full medical carried out by the fire and rescue service's medical advisor.  The purpose of the medical is to assess the general level of health, including weight, blood pressure and lung function.  Candidates will also have a hearing test, eyesight test and a urine test.

A report may also be required from a hospital where you have received treatment or an independent specialist if the Service Medical Advisor requires it.

Your consent is required to access these records and it is a condition that, for your progression through the recruitment process, this consent is given as requested.