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East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo

Wholetime firefighter recruitment process

Wholetime firefighter recruitment process

Details of the process can be found in our downloadable brochure and in our Frequently Asked Questions which gives planned dates for the different stages.

Behavioural Styles and Situational Judgement 

Once you have passed the initial stage, you will be required to complete an online Behavioural Styles Questionnaire (BSQ). The BSQ explores your preferred behaviours in a working environment. This assessment is untimed but should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. The test will be available for completion for a period of 5 working days. If you haven’t completed the test within the designated time there won’t be an opportunity to finish or retake it.

If you are successful through the BSQ, you will be invited to undertake the online Situational Judgement Test (SJT). The SJT measures your judgement and decision making skills in situations typical in the Fire and Rescue Service.  Again, this is an untimed assessment that should take about 20 minutes to complete. Again, the test will only be open for a set week period. 

You don’t need any prior knowledge of the Fire Service to complete the BSQ or SJT – they are designed to assess your suitability to the role of a Firefighter. There is no preparation you can undertake for these tests, you should just answer each question honestly and mark the answer that feels right to you.

These will help us assess your suitability for the role of a Firefighter by looking at how you answer questions relating to the Firefighter Personal Qualities and Attributes (PQAs). As such, you are strongly urged to complete the tests on your own, without referring to anyone else for help or guidance.

Aptitude tests 

The three aptitude tests – Verbal, Numerical and Mechanical Reasoning will help us assess your abilities when it comes to numbers, language and the mechanical side of firefighting, such as the use of gears, axles and pulleys. These are equivalent to GCSE standard and will be multiple choice.

Test versions are available via these links. If the links don’t immediately work, please copy and paste them into your internet search bar.

Mechanical: https://frs.tptests.com/candidate/practice?accesskey=31524637
Verbal: https://frs.tptests.com/candidate/practice?accesskey=1445204
Numerical: https://frs.tptests.com/candidate/practice?accesskey=321455714

The bleep test

We expect applicants to reach a target of 8.7 in the “bleep test” - also known as a shuttle run – which tests aerobic fitness and stamina.

This equates to approximately 1.5km in 10 minutes.

You will be asked to run between two lines 20m apart in time to recorded bleeps.

The speed at the start is quite slow however the intervals between the bleeps gets smaller as time goes on, which means you have to run faster to reach the line.

It is a steady increase of speed and you pace yourself. Each level has 10 beeps (10 shuttles back and forth) and then the next level starts, which will be slight raise in pace.

If the line is reached before the bleep sounds, you must wait until the bleep sounds before continuing.

If you miss one beep when you get to the line, you have three shuttles to catch up your time.

The test ends when the candidate reaches the “pass“ level or is unable to keep up with the bleeps after relevant allowances have been made.

Physical tests 

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. The tests are timed and consist of the following:

Ladder climb

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. 

Casualty evacuation

A simulated rescue of a casualty from an open space. This test involves upper and lower body strength and stamina. 

Ladder lift

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. 

Equipment assembly

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. 

Equipment carry

A variety of equipment will need to be carried to a set point within a defined timeframe, between shuttle runs. This will test your aerobic fitness, muscular strength and stamina. 

Enclosed space

You’ll negotiate your way through a measured crawlway wearing a Breathing Apparatus facemask within a set time. Your vision will be obscured and you will be asked to identify a number of objects during this test.

Fitness standards - how to prepare for our tests     

Latest Update :
11 August 2020
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