On-call firefighters are ordinary people that combine their day jobs with being on call for Fire and Rescue situations and emergencies. When the call comes in, they drop what they are doing and become part of the East Sussex Fire and Rescue team.
It's an important commitment, but an immensely rewarding way to serve the community, keep the public safe and earn an extra income.
We will add dates of any in-person Have a Go Days here too - read more about what happens at this sort of event and what happens when one of our HQ staff steps out from behind her desk!
Timeline for next process
- Written Test 11&12 and 18&19 Jan 2023 TBC
- Interviews Date range 1 Feb - 3 Mar 2023 TBC
- Physical Testing Day 18 March 2023
- Medicals 23 and/or 24 March 2023 TBC
- Fit Tests 23 and/or 24 March 2023 TBC
- Bristol (PPE) 05 April 2023
- Skills for Justice 17th & 18th June 2023
- Induction Weekend 24th & 25th June 2023
- Core Skills Course 3rd – 14th July 2023
- RTC weekend 22nd and 23rd July 2023
- Safe Working at Height Input 12th August 2023 - Assessment TBC
- L2 Water Basic 19th & 20th August 2023
- BA Readiness Day 23rd September 2023
- BA Basics Course TBC
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An on-call firefighter is someone who responds to a range of fire and rescue service jobs; these range from emergency calls, working at open days, carrying out work with their local communities and acting as an ambassador for the fire service.
On-call firefighters come from every walk of life, including homemakers, shopkeepers, builders, farmers, office workers and directors of companies, together with people who are not currently employed.
Over 90% of On-call firefighters in East Sussex do their firefighting work alongside their day job.
Full training is provided on an ongoing basis, therefore previous experience is not needed.
An on-call firefighter could be called out two or three times a week, for a few hours at a time. The on-call hours are based around people’s availability and other commitments. To be an on-call firefighter, you must :
- Have a strong desire to support the local community.
- Be enthusiastic about working as part of a team.
- Have a reasonable level of personal fitness.
- Live or/and work within 5 minutes of your local fire station.
- You will be required to be clean shaven for Health & Safety reasons, to ensure your Breathing Apparatus has a complete seal.
The on-call duty system is one of three Duty Systems (alongside Shift and Day Crewed) that combine to provide operational emergency response.
All our firefighters are trained to respond to the same incidents and on-call Firefighters enable us to crew more fire appliances in some of the more rural and remote areas of the county.
On-call Firefighters are paid an annual retaining fee of up to £2,520+, plus an hourly rate of up to £11.51 for any work undertaken for the Service, including responding to incidents and training.
Annual earnings depend largely on how much cover can be offered and how often on-call firefighters get called out.
The average earned by on-call firefighters in East Sussex is between £5,000 and £7,000*.
+correct at 01 July 2021. *gross average, ESFRS, 2016.
Please pop down to your local station on drill night (see below) to find out more about the role of the on-call firefighter and to discuss the cover required with the Watch Manager.
The first question we will ask is, "Where do you live and/or work?"
The reason for this is that on-call firefighters carry alerters when on duty and need to be at the fire station and ready to turn out within 5 minutes of the alerter sounding, travelling at normal road speeds, typically from home or their place of work.
You can also visit the national on-call website: www.oncallfire.uk The website gives advice to employers and how having on-call firefighters within their business can bring advantages. These include health and safety and medical response training, as well as developing situational awareness, leadership skills and the ability to work under pressure.
Applicants are required to register on our online recruitment portal, select the station that they wish to apply for and complete a short application form.
Initially, candidates are considered on the cover they offer and distance elements, as well as any potential conflicts of interest with other employment.
Applicants will be required to commit to a minimum of 40 hours per week, which can be averaged out over a number of weeks.
Please note you will need to be available on the station drill night (see below) as there is a requirement to attend a minimum of 40 drill nights per year.
If you work a varied shift pattern in your primary employment, you will be ask to select what a typical week might look like, but will have the opportunity to provide additional information about your shift pattern and what you are able to offer the Fire Service.
Elements of both the written tests and the interview are designed to assess your attitudes and motivations against set Personal Qualities and Attributes (PQAs).
Further information on the PQAs will be sent to you along with the invitation to the written tests, should your application progress to this stage.
Candidates will then be required to pass all of the following tests:
- National Firefighter Questionnaire
- Working with Numbers
- Understanding Information
- Situational Awareness and Problem Solving
Candidates with conditions such as dyslexia will be given the opportunity to make themselves known to the assessment team. You will be asked what reasonable adjustments, if any, you require to undertake the tests and we will endeavour to implement these where possible.
Please note that applicants who fail to pass the written tests after three attempts will be required to take a twelve month break before re-entering the recruitment process.
This will last for approximately 45 minutes and will consist of questions designed to demonstrate ways in which you meet Fire Service values and behaviours.
The following information will help you prepare for the interview. We strongly suggest that you access the e-learn module and read about our expected behaviours before you attend an interview.
Please note that applicants who do not pass the interview after two attempts will be required to take a twelve-month break before re-entering the recruitment process.
These tests are related to the actual tasks a firefighter will face and are designed to test fitness and the ability to understand and apply information.
Whilst attached to a safety line, you'll climb a 12 metre ladder and carry out a selected task within a time limit. This test will assess your confidence and co-ordination whilst working at heights.
A simulated rescue of a casualty from an open space, this test involves upper and lower body strength and stamina.
You'll be asked to lift the weight of a ladder to a defined height within a time limit to simulate housing a ladder back on an appliance. This will test upper and lower body strength.
You'll negotiate your way through a measured crawl-way wearing a Breathing Apparatus face-mask within a set time.
Your vision will be obscured and you will be asked to identify a number of objects during this test.
This aims to test your ability to comprehend and follow instructions. You'll be asked to assemble and disassemble a piece of equipment following a series of diagrams within a set time-frame.
A variety of equipment will need to be carried to a set point within a defined time-frame, between shuttle runs. This will test your aerobic fitness, muscular strength and stamina.
Please note that applicants who do not pass the physical tests after two attempts will be required to take a twelve-month break before re-entering the recruitment process.
A full medical examination by the Service Occupational Health Department is required.
The purpose of the medical is to assess your general level of health and to ensure you are fit to take on the role of a Firefighter.
A medical report from your GP will be applied for, for which your consent will be required. Any conditions you may have are assessed on an individual basis.
There are no ‘blanket bans’ on conditions such as Asthma and Diabetes and we do not ask for 20:20 vision.
All conditions are assessed in line with the requirements of the job.
More information about the role of an on-call firefighter and the application process is available in this information booklet, which you should read in full.
You will be contracted to be on call during the hours that you have agreed to provide cover and will therefore need to remain within 5 minutes of the Fire Station during those times, although there will be some flexibility for ad-hoc changes to be agreed with Station Management.
The initial training will comprise of two induction weekends, a two week Core Skills Course (Monday to Friday) and an RTC weekend. Once you have successfully completed these elements you will be able to ride a fire appliance, though in a limited capacity.
Once you have completed the initial training you will become a Firefighter in Development and will be placed on the Firefighter (On-call) Development Programme, which is accredited through Skills for Justice. On completion of the Development Programme you will be deemed as a competent firefighter. We would anticipate that this process would take approximately 2 years, but completion times with vary according to the individual.
There will be further training within 12 months of completing the Core Skills Course as follows:
- Safe Working at Height Course- 2 days spaced 6 weeks apart
- Water Basic course- 2 days
- Breathing Apparatus (BA) Readiness Course- 1 day
- Initial BA Wearers Course- Two weeks (Monday to Friday)
- 2 ½ hour Drill nights on your station each week
- 4 hours per month theoretical training
There will be regular fitness tests on station during drill nights to ensure your fitness levels do not drop between attendance on the Core Skills Course and attendance on the BA Course.
Please head to our online recruitment portal to view the Stations which are recruiting and to apply for the role.
Please allow 10 working days for a response to your initial application.
Not all Fire Stations in East Sussex have on-call crews, below is a list of those that do and the recruitment status for that station. If you live in one of the areas where we are not currently recruiting, you can still apply to us and we will contact you when vacancies arise.
Brighton, Hove, Hastings and Eastbourne Fire Stations do not have on-call crews.
| Station || Recruitment Status || Drill Night & Time |
| Barcombe || All cover considered || Wednesday - 1900 |
| Battle || All cover considered || Tuesday - 1845 |
| Bexhill || Not currently recruiting || Tuesday - 1900 |
| Broad Oak || All cover considered |
| Tuesday - 1900 |
| Burwash || All cover considered |
| Tuesday - 1900 |
| Crowborough || Weekday daytime and Weekend cover |
| Monday - 1845 |
| Forest Row || All cover considered || Monday - 1900 |
| Hailsham || Weekend 24 hour cover & Weekday daytime cover |
| Monday - 1900 |
| Heathfield || Weekday daytime and Weekend cover || Monday - 1900 |
| Herstmonceux || Weekday daytime and Weekend cover |
| Monday - 1845 |
| Lewes || All cover considered || Wednesday - 1900 |
| Mayfield || All cover considered || Monday - 1900 |
| Newhaven || All cover considered || Wednesday - 1900 |
| Pevensey || All cover considered || Monday - 1900 |
| Rye || Weekday daytime and Weekend cover || Tuesday - 1845 |
| Seaford || Daytime cover preferred || Wednesday - 1845 |
| Wadhurst || All cover considered |
| Monday - 1900 |
| Uckfield || Not currently recruiting || Monday - 1900 |
Latest Update : 28 November 2022