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The biggest firefighter recruitment campaign in over six years will launch on Monday afternoon. The Brigade is searching for 400 people to start their career as a firefighter and develop into other firefighting specialisms such as technical rescue, fire investigation and community prevention work.
The Brigade wants everyone to know the role of a firefighter means so much more.
London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: “There is no more important time to become a firefighter in London. The five terrorist attacks and the tragic Grenfell blaze this year has shown that our firefighters must be prepared to deal with every eventuality that can occur in our capital. Tackling fires, though, is now thankfully a smaller part of a firefighter’s role than ever before. Modern firefighting is so much more than tackling fires. In any given day you could be helping to stabilise the driver at a road traffic collision, pumping out water of a flooded property or fitting smoke alarms that save the life of an elderly Londoner.
“For those that go on to choose to follow specialist firefighting careers paths you could travel the world rescuing people from collapsed buildings, solve the causes of complex fires with the service’s fire investigation team and help prevent fires and save lives through face-to-face community safety work.
“With our new campaign we hope to reach those people who never thought of firefighting as a career for them. Firefighting is a job for all and we especially want to reach women and black minority ethnic people as we strive to better reflect the communities we work in.”
The Brigade estimates it needs at least 7,000 applicants to obtain the people we need. The Brigade has re-established an Outreach Team that will go out into the community to talk about the numerous career opportunities that firefighting offers.
The Brigade will hold recruitment days at fire stations which will offer guidance and practise tests to help prepare people for the application process. Every candidate will need to meet ability tests on a range of skills including problem solving, physical strength and being good communicators.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “London’s firefighters do one of the most important jobs there is – helping to keep the rest of us safe. This year they have played a critical and heroic role in responding to deadly terrorist attacks and tackling the Grenfell Tower tragedy, but this is only a small proportion of their tireless work to protect and support London’s communities.
“Forget the stereotypes, London Fire Brigade is targeting women and all of London’s BAME communities and I want it to become as diverse as the city it serves. So even if you’ve never thought of a career as a firefighter before, I encourage all Londoners to see what there is to offer and think about becoming one of London’s most valued employees.”
All recruits must:
• Be a UK/EU citizen, without work restrictions or be a permanent resident in UK.
• Pass certain rigorous physical and job related tests
• Pass medical and eye examinations.
• Be at least 17.5 years old as of the closing date of the advert.
London Fire Authority members recently approved the suspension of the London residency requirement for applicants and removed the requirement to have a driver’s licence. Instead successful applicants will be expected to pass their LGV test within the first three years of employment.
A 2016 Department of Transport Travel Survey found that 67 per cent of men and 71 per cent of women aged 17-20 do not have a full UK driving licence. According to the Driving Standards Agency (2016), cost is a barrier to people learning to drive, with the average learner driver needing 47 lessons before they pass their test at an estimated cost of £1,400.
Work is also underway to examine how the Brigade’s fire cadet scheme can establish an apprenticeship pathway into firefighting especially as nearly half of graduate fire cadets are women.
Successful applicants start with pre-learning programme where some initial theory will be taught by video presentations. Similar to a foundation course, the basic concept of the firefighter role is explained. This is done at the trainees own pace and currently lasts up to 6 weeks.
The second stage is a combination of classroom and practical sessions where trainers will be assessing the theory alongside practical skills. Trainees will have classroom and practical sessions on subjects such as fitness, health and safety, legislation, fire science, handling equipment - how to use knots and lines, hoses and hydrants and the use of ladders, as well as key skills such as water management and using breathing apparatus.
The third and final stage is on the job development and consolidation of learning at a fire station, and it can take between 18-36 months to confirm competence in role (via a Personal Development Record). In addition, two (2 day) workshops require completion to confirm that knowledge and understanding has been retained in the workplace.