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So you want to apply to be a firefighter
*Before you apply you should understand what you applying for, to whom do you apply, and who can apply so please read this page and the overview of the employment section as well as looking at the sample application forms. Each Brigade or Local Authority may have somewhat different requirements and apart from firefighting the retained and fulltime service are two totally different types of employment.*
In general the process of applying for a job as a firefighter in either the Retained or Fulltime Brigade is the same although the stages and advertising methods may differ slightly as Retained firefighters are required to live within two or three minutes of the station they are attached to.
For new firefighters the brigade (Local Authority Human Resources section) requiring recruits will advertise the positions in the local and national newspapers as well sometimes like Dublin on www.publicjobs.ie. You generally have one month to get the application form and return it with your filled in details. Some authorities also advertise on their websites with Dublin City Council having the form online at www.publicjobs.ie and the only way of replying to the advertisement.
In order to have a good chance of finding out when they are advertising you should if possible have a number of people in the service keeping track of news / rumours!
Have friends, relatives constantly checking papers etc. and let them know that they should contact you if they see anything.
From time to time telephone the human resources department of the local authority that runs the fire brigade you are interested in and ask them when they are advertising next.
Finally check the forum on this site for info and leave some information on the forum if you find out anything first.
Concerning retained recruitment this is usually done on a more local level via a number of different ways. Newspapers, flyers as well as newspaper advertisements etc. Go down to the local station on a training night and ask them about the job details and also contact the local authority for that brigade. Don't forget an absolute requirement is that you be living within two or three minutes of the station.
Transferring Within the Irish Fire Service
If you are already a fulltime firefighter in Ireland then there is the chance to transfer to another fulltime brigade as this has been done before on a number of occasions. As yet though there is no formal procedure set up and it's up to you to contact your Chief Fire Officer and set the ball rolling and for them and you to contact the brigade you are interested in. Ideally a mutual swap means that your brigade does not lose a person they have spent thousands training and therefore your Chief would be more open to the idea.
If transferring to Dublin please note all firefighters are trained paramedics and you will be required to do the Paramedic course to become one and you will as part of your duties be rotated from fire to ambulance duties.
As a retained firefighter transferring to another retained brigade obviously you would need to move house to be able to respond within the required turnout time. As above you should contact the Local Authority which runs the service and make enquires.
Most brigades willl also require you to go through some familiarisation course to be able to work smoothly within the brigade you are applying for as each brigade will vary slightly in their protocols and level of training.
Transferring or Joining from Another Country
Again like the above no brigade to my knowledge has a set procedure for employing a person who is already a firefighter in their own country. You need to contact the Human Resource section and the Chief Fire Officer of the brigade you are interested in joining (see links below) . Remember being a small country we do not have many fulltime brigades and we have 37 different Local Authorities which run them! Most people joining a brigade have themselves only been in one for a few years and therefore most Authorities would require you to go through the full recruit course again in particular if your country had a different operating methods. You should ask some questions on the forum as well as people from that brigade may be able to assist you. In short it's down to you to contact the brigade and Authority that runs the brigade to see if they are open to the idea in particular for equivalency of training as countries firefighting training and methods can vary greatly!
These are the general requirements usually listed on most application forms.
Candidates should be of good character and be able to supply references as required by their employers. They must be free from any defect or disease which would render them unsuitable "for duty" and be in a state of health, decided by the corporation, to render regular and efficient service.
They must have the physical capacity to undertake all fire service duties and their strength will be assessed by undertaking tests on various machines such as on their hand grip and leg back pull strength on a load cell dynamometer.
The age requirement is above 18 with no height restriction.It should be noted though that many brigades prefer taking in candidates with a few years experience of life under their belt as the work of firefighters is both dangerous and the nature of some of the incidents we see can be very traumatic.
Eyesight, hearing and a list of various diseases and conditions are also areas in which the candidate must be acceptable.
The hardest part of the job as most firefighters will tell you is the training. Like all good activities you train hard to play easy and the fire service is no different. The more physically fit you are the easier it is to do the job and to protect yourself from sudden and long term injury and illness.
The role of a modern day, professional firefighter is physically demanding and at times calls upon all aspects of fitness, which includes strength, endurance and flexibility.
A good book which is aimed at fitness for firefighters and those interested in achieving this thype of fitness is called Firefighter Fit by Uk firefighter James Holder. Information on the book and how to obtain it is on his site at www.firefigherfit.com.
Each candidate must have obtained a grade D (or a pass) in five subjects including Mathematics and English in the Junior Certificate or it's equivalent. Additional marks can also be given to those with any of the following:
A higher educational qualification (e.g. leaving certificate or college)
Experience of driving heavy vehicles.
Technical or trades training (e.g. electrician)
Civil Defence Auxiliary Fire Service training.
The applicant must also hold a full class B (car) driving license.
Conditions of Pay
This is and ever changing area in the current climate so you should find that out from the relevant Local Authority.
Firefighters in Dublin also operate the emergency ambulance service and rotate from firefighter to ambulance duties. Those stationed in DFB headquarters in Tara Street as well as other stations with control rooms would also operate these on a rota basis depneding on local arrangements.
The training in Dublin for an Paramedic is currently seven weeks full-time in addition to fire training and a minimum of number of hours after going operational for a period of time on the ambulance as a part of the requirement for the Department of Health Paramedic. certification. (this is currently under negotiation so l cannot give a definitive answer yet but it stands at 880 at the time of writing) You travel as a third person working with the ambulance crew for a few weeks and then go fully operational taking notes and a diary of all your cases for return to the Department of Health.
Firefighting by its very nature is a dangerous job requiring responsibility and commitment to both your colleagues and the public. Both the lives of the people you are rescuing and your colleagues whom you may be backing up, depend on you doing a professional job.
I have to say this because you must see past the so called glamour and excitement of the job to it's real role and decide if you are prepared to give your best. If that's you then great here is my advice.
It is very rare for people just out of school to be taken into the brigade. Most people are on average around 23-27 years of age. This is because they have seen a bit more of the world and are somewhat more mature. It should be noted that people as old as 42 (my age at the time of writing so hopefully not too old!) have joined the brigade as a recruit so don't rule yourself out.
Regardless of the above apply as soon as possible as many people only get the job the second time around and you will obtain experience just going for it. Who knows you may get it!
Anyone who has a trade such as a electrician, nursing, carpenter has a great advantage. They have shown that they can work with their hands as well as the ability to study and learn.
Other areas where prior experience can be gained are a volunteer fire service such as the Civil Defence Auxiliary Fire Service or in the Defence Forces, Reserve Defence Force (Territorials in Northern Ireland) mountain rescue, lifeboats, ambulance volunteer or otherwise.. These qualify as extra points on a candidates form.
The Aptitude test.
This varies from brigade to brigade and from year to year however several factors remain the same. First try and find out what the format will be based on previous years. Usually the tests are speed and accuracy based, using word association, numerical ability, spatial relationships and mechanical reasoning. These l find are only difficult if you don't practice. It is not how many questions you get done, it is how many questions you get done correctly in the time allowed. Like anything you may be good at such questions but practice makes perfect and you need to beat someone else who is also good at it!
The aptitude test for Dublin in 2007 consisted also of various observation tests. Several one minute videos were shown and candidates were required to answer questions on them, from what was in the room, colour and position of objects and questions on the subject e.g. answer questions on fire safety after watching a video. It's important to answer the questions based on what you actually heard / saw rather than any prior knowledge you have about the subject or what you think you saw as assumption is the mother of all ^***&^&((! Try use mind mapping and object association and the walking through a room method of listing things as you pass and interact with them.
Borrow some books from the library, buy some puzzle books etc. and get practicing in the weeks before you are due to sit the exam. As l have told many people, those who want the job will do the work and it will show in who passes the test. Remember it does not matter how great you are and what qualifications or experience you have if you cannot pass this section so prepare for it.
If you are interested in preparing for the aptitude test then a good course is run by www.testpreparations.ie . The instructor is more than familiar with Dublin Fire Brigade and adapts the course as the test itself does change from time to time. If you do the course then let others know how you get on through the forums.
The Personality profile
This was introduced by Dublin Corporation for the recruit selection process in January 2001.
It consisted of 144 questions with five possible choices of answer from strongly disagree to strongly agree. There was about 30 different questions which were repeated in a number of ways in order to assess the consistency of the answers the individual gave. Answer honestly and not as to how you think they want they question to be answered its a profile not a right or wrong type questionnaire.
Tasks / Team work
Again a new section in Dublins recruit process candidates were broken up into groups of 5. Each of the people in the group were given a topic to talk about and 5 minutes to make notes before speaking about it. The rest of the group were required to discuss the topic. 3 examiners were present.
The second part of the test was an individual manual dexterity task removing nuts and bolts and reassembling them on a different piece of wood.
There are plenty of good books regarding interviews so check them out. The panel will ask you questions on any previous experience such as teamwork ,skills related experience etc. If you have some don't be afraid to talk about it in a positive way as it will lead to more questions from the interviewers showing you up in a good light hopefully and keeping them away from any negative questions.
If the interview is broken down into sections e.g.teamwork, communications, decision making etc. then have good! examples of those areas from your past experiences ready to discuss with the interviewers.
E.g. if you worked with other people then was it teamwork and how did you contribute etc.
Rule number one is no spoofing if you don't know say so. They can spot it a mile off. Remember if they can't even trust you in an interview they are hardly likely to recommend you for the job.
Speak up and project confidence, and be ready to answer as to why you want this job and why it should go to you.
Beside the strength tests which are mentioned above there are other tests which you may be given to assess your suitability. One of these is the height test which may be climbing a 13.5M ladder or similar taking a leg lock and leaning back with both arms outstretched. Health and Safety nowadays will have candidates wearing a harness while doing this.
A second one is for confined spaces where a blacked out breathing apparatus mask without the set is placed on your head and you are sent through a series of narrow tunnels possibly carrying an object. Remain calm and work your way through the tunnels there are no booby traps! and instructors are right there beside you.
The Medical Examination
The medical examination can last up to one and a half hours and consist of various tests.
Chester Step Test
This is a 10 minute step test with the pace increasing every 2 minutes. Your heart rate must mnot exceed a calculated one for your or the test will be stopped.The step height varies for different participants (from 0.15 to 0.30 meters) - there are standardized criteria for choosing a step height based on the subjects age and physical activity history. The initial step rate is 15 steps per minute and every 2 minutes the tempo increases by 5 steps per minute. The stepping rate is set by a recorded metronome and guided verbal instructions, which are played on a MP3 or compact disc. When the subject reaches 80% of age estimated heart rate maximum and/or an RPE of 14 on Borg's 6–20 scale, they are told to stop the test.
Please note that the Irish Fire Services Resource web administrator does not hire people and has no links to an individual brigade or employer i.e. l can't get you a job sorry!