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How to become a Firefighter (IRL)

firefighter (irl) careers

What does a Firefighter (IRL) do?

Firefighters work as part of a team responding to fires or other emergencies. Besides fires, they can be called out to deal with emergencies such as road, rail and air accidents. They also rescue people and animals from dangerous situations.

Once a fire has been dealt with, firefighters are responsible for clearing up and checking that the site is safe. They may have to write reports, which are used by accident investigators or insurance companies.

Fire prevention is an important part of the work and may mean inspecting public buildings, advising on fire safety measures and giving talks and demonstrations.

Routine duties at the fire station are also part of the job. These include: practice drills, and cleaning, maintaining and checking vehicles and equipment.

What's the working environment like working as a Firefighter (IRL)?

Firefighters work a 42-hour week, on a rotating shift pattern to cover days, nights and weekends. If there is a major fire or emergency they may be required to work overtime.

Part-time or retained firefighters work a fixed number of hours’ training duty at a fire station each week, and are on standby for emergencies.

Firefighters work in all weathers and conditions. They can often be working in cramped spaces and at heights; moreover, sometimes the work can be dangerous.

What does it take to become a Firefighter (IRL)?

To be a firefighter, you should:

  • have quick reactions
  • be fit and healthy
  • be able to stay calm, take control and deal with people who may panic or be in a state of shock
  • be able to work responsibly as a member of a closely-knit and well-organised team
  • be able to accept discipline and co-operate effectively
  • have common sense and a practical approach to work
  • have good technical skills to handle and check a variety of tools and equipment
  • have good spoken and written communication skills for dealing with members of the public and colleagues, and for report writing.

Firefighter (IRL) Career Opportunities

The Fire Authority for Northern Ireland is responsible for providing fire cover throughout Northern Ireland. There are approximately 900 full-time and 1,100 part-time firefighters.

There are some jobs with the British Airports Authority plc, which operates fire service units at several airports, and the Ministry of Defence employs some civilian firefighters.

There is a lot of competition for jobs. All vacancies are advertised in the press, and application forms are only given out when vacancies have been advertised.Above the rank of station officer, vacancies are advertised throughout the service, and anyone with the appropriate qualifications can apply.

Firefighters qualify after four years’ experience. During this time, you will be encouraged to sit exams for promotion to leading firefighter or sub-officer.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Firefighter (IRL) that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Fire Authority for Northern Ireland
Human Resources
Brigade Headquarters
1 Seymour Street
BT27 4SX
Tel: 028 9266 4221.

Facts and Stats:

  • The Ministry of Defence is British Industry''s largest single customer
  • Every year, civil servants are responsible for public spending of around £300bn
  • If every MP turned up at the chambers of the House of Commons at the same time, there would not be enough seats for them all to sit down