Starting a new career often raises some questions. We have put together some frequently raised questions you may have, provided further information and answers. Take a look through the site to find out more about working for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

What educational qualifications do I need?

As a firefighter you will need to absorb and retain complex information and many of our firefighter will go on to be future managers. Therefore you will need a minimum of 5 GCSE Grade A to C including English and Maths or a recognised equivalent.

As part of my faith I wish to pray at different times during the day and early in the morning, will this be possible?

We will make every effort to provide a private place for you to pray.  However, there will be times when you are involved in a rescue or other activity that will mean you may need to defer your prayers until the incident is finished.

I am worried about having to share facilities with firefighters of the opposite sex

Not a problem – all our stations have separate facilities for our female and male firefighters.

Do I need to live in Norfolk to apply?

You do not need to live in Norfolk and some of our Firefighter travel from other counties to work in our service. Please bear in mind when applying though that we do not pay relocation costs.

Do I need to be able to swim?

As we are often involved in water rescue and helping people leave their homes in the event of flooding, you will need to be confident in water to ensure your safety and the safety of others. You may need to operate in swift water to a depth of 750mm.


Do I need to be a British citizen to apply?

No you can be any nationality as long as you have permanent unrestricted right to live and work in the UK.  All candidates are required by law to provide evidence of their legal right to work in the UK.

Do I need a driving licence?

It would certainly help.  You will be required to work in a number of different stations across Norfolk – some of which are not accessible by public transport.  You may also choose to become a LGV driver to drive our appliances.

Is there an age restriction?

You need to be 18 years of age or older at the start of the initial recruitment course.  While there is no upper age limit, normal pension age for firefighters is 60.

Is there a height limit?

There is no minimum or maximum height – our firefighters come in all sizes.

I have a beard will I have to shave this off to be a firefighter, even if it’s for religious reasons?

Unfortunately, yes. To ensure that the facemask forms a seal around the face, it is necessary to keep the face clean shaven to prevent any dangerous airborne chemicals entering the facemask.

The service respects religious needs however as a firefighter you will be required to wear a facemask when you are wearing breathing apparatus.

Will I need to work shifts?

Yes  – most  firefighters work a four day rota – two day shifts, two night shifts followed by four days off.  We also operate a day duty system.  The good news is that you will know what shifts you are working a year in advance.

Do I have to be fit to apply?

You will need to be fit and maintain your level of fitness throughout your career as a firefighter.  As part of the recruitment process you will undertake a number of physical tests.  In addition you will need to pass a fitness test to determine your aerobic capacity.

I have a disability – can I still become a firefighter?

Under the Equality Act 2010 a disability is defined as:  “Anyone who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on her/his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.”  We ask all candidates if they need adjustments to be made as part of the recruitment process and to enable them to be fulfil the role of firefighter.  Each case will be considered on an individual basis.  We need to consider with you whether a reasonable adjustment can be made to enable you to undertake the role of firefighter.

I have a criminal record – can I still apply to be a firefighter?

It depends.  If you have unspent criminal convictions you will have to declare them as part of the application stage.  You will be subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act which you will need to read as each offence will be different.  Before an offer of employment is made a disclosure document may be obtained.  If at this stage a conviction is highlighted that you have not declared your application will be withdrawn from the recruitment process.

Can I apply if I wear glasses?

As long as your eye sight meets the required standard glasses are not a bar to applying.  If you are unsure if your eyesight meets the required standards you are strongly advised to seek advice from your optician before applying.

The eyesight standards are as follows:

  • Uncorrected distance vision no worse than 6/18 in the better eye, and 6/24 in the worse eye.
  • Corrected distance acuity should be at least 6/9 with both eyes open and reach 6/12 in the weaker eye.
  • Near vision – should be able to read N12 at 30 cm with both eyes open unaided.
  • Have normal binocular field of vision.
  • Have an appropriate level of colour perception. Individuals with either normal colour vision or slightly abnormal green colour vision are suitable for appointment to the fire service. The recommended test procedure uses the Ishihara test as the initial screen. If the applicant fails the screening an additional test may take place at the Services preferred opticians.
If I am unsuccessful at any stage of the process can I re-sit?

You need to be successful at each stage to progress to the next.  However this does not mean that you can’t apply again when we are next recruiting.

What if I can’t make an assessment date or the training course date?

The dates of the assessments and the training course have been set and agreed at the beginning of the recruitment process as they are very labour intensive and take huge amounts of planning.  If you are unable to make any of the dates you will not be able to continue with the recruitment process on this occasion.