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Firefighter

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The facts

Job description

You'll save the lives of aircrew in emergencies and provide your base with firefighting services.

Category

Airmen/Airwomen

Pay after training

£17,485

Joining age

17.5 - 35

Similar civilian jobs

  • Firefighter
  • Community fire safety officer
  • Emergency planning officer

Usual service

9 years

Nationality

Citizen of the UK or the Republic of Ireland, or a Commonwealth citizen since birth.

Open to

male or female

Qualifications you need

2 GCSEs/SCEs at Grade G/6 minimum or equivalent in English language and maths. Must hold current full UK driving licence. For candidates under the age of 20 years and 6 months at time of applying, the licence must be free from record of conviction or penalty points, including any driving ban (even if it has expired) as these preclude the holding of a LGV category licence. Candidates over this age with unexpired penalty points may be considered for service.

Qualifications you can gain

Advanced Apprenticeship in Firefighting

Residency

Whether or not you were born in the United Kingdom, you should have resided there for the five years immediately preceding your application.

You must be physically fit. You must not need glasses or contact lenses, nor suffer from colour blindness. If you have a history of illnesses such as asthma or claustrophobia, you will not be able to join the RAF as a Firefighter.

The job

The job

After just three minutes the survival rate for passengers and aircrew trapped in an aircraft fire drops rapidly. RAF Firefighters provide 24/7 fire and crash rescue cover and are organised, equipped and trained to respond to any emergency.

It’s a job that demands courage, fitness and strength.

Working in the UK, you’ll be part of a highly skilled and motivated team that responds to emergencies on RAF bases and family living quarters.

You may also train other personnel in fire safety.

Firefighters also perform an essential role on overseas operations. As part of an Immediate Response Team, you’ll be equipped with highly specialist equipment, like night vision goggles and powerful cutting tools.

You could be called upon to put out fires caused by explosive devices or rescue crew trapped in vehicles or aircraft.

Operationally, you could be deployed around every 20 months, usually for four months. However, if you’re supporting a training exercise, it could be for around four to six weeks.

Qualifications

As part of your training, you’ll take an LGV driving test and qualify in emergency fire appliance driving techniques.

You’ll also have the opportunity to complete an Apprenticeship in Aviation Operations.

Your job may require you to work under extreme and sometimes dangerous conditions. Accordingly, Firefighter training is physically and mentally demanding.

You’ll receive professional training in firefighting skills and learn how to use specialist equipment such as breathing apparatus and cutting and lifting equipment. We’ll also teach you how to operate specialist airfield crash fire and rescue appliances.

Later you’ll have the opportunity to qualify in the specialist skills of fire safety, road traffic incident instructor and compartment fire behaviour training.

I do this job

Firefighter

Mark Almond
Firefighter

‘If anything goes wrong with a plane, the crash alarm goes and we’ve got to be at that aircraft within three minutes.’

My role

‘At a flying station, we’re based right at the side of the runway. If anything goes wrong with a plane, the crash alarm goes and we’ve got to be at that aircraft within three minutes – the critical survival time for the crew. Aircraft fires can be very dangerous with all the ammunition, weapons and ejector seats, and it’s our job to make them safe.

‘Here at Honington, there are no aircraft so we cover the buildings on base and do a lot of fire safety training.’

My day

‘During the firefighters’ strike, I helped train the Army’s “Green Goddess” fire engine crews. I was also part of a team covering the local area. It made me very proud when we were out doing our job, saving lives, and people on the streets recognised us as RAF Firefighters.’

My experiences

‘In Iraq, I was in charge of a team dealing with a massive fire caused by a fuse box that exploded. There were sparks everywhere and we had to get the electricity shut off before my team could go in and fight the fire.

‘The first time I faced something like that, the adrenaline was pumping and my heart was pounding. But my training kicked in and I just got on with the job. And the more I’ve experienced, the more my confidence has grown.’

My life

‘I’m a member of the Institution of Fire Engineers and the accredited training I’m doing in the RAF is exactly the same as civilian firefighters do. It’s good to know I’m getting the same letters after my name as the firefighters I know who don’t work for the RAF.’

Training

Recruit training

Your career will start with a 10 week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment. As well as fitness and military training, you’ll also learn about the RAF lifestyle.  

Specialist Training

The next step is a specialist training course, at RAF Manston in Kent; the course consists of 15 weeks basic firefighter training and 5 weeks of further specific military training which includes:

2 weeks functional skills
1 week adventure training
2 weeks airman development training. 

 The basic course will teach you:

• techniques to deal with emergencies, including aircraft crash rescue and
domestic firefighting;
• how to use rescue equipment, including breathing apparatus;
• how to operate fire extinguishers;
• how aircraft ejector seats operate; and
• about the chemistry of fire.

You’ll also deal with 'live' practice fires, and gain experience of specialist crash rescue and firefighting vehicles.

Your specialist training will earn you a number of qualifications, including:

• accreditation to the Institute of Fire Engineers at preliminary level;
• the St John Ambulance First Aid at Work qualification; and
• Home Office accreditation to wear breathing apparatus.

You’ll also be on your way to completing a Level 2 NVQ. Together with Functional Skills in Application of Number, Communication and Information Technology and a Technical Certificate, this will qualify you for an Apprenticeship in Aviation Operations on The Ground and achieve the majority of credits towards a Diploma in Aviation Ops.

Your job may require you to work under extreme and sometimes dangerous conditions. Accordingly, Firefighter training is physically and mentally demanding.

You’ll receive professional training in firefighting skills and learn how to use specialist equipment such as breathing apparatus and cutting and lifting equipment. We’ll also teach you how to operate specialist airfield crash fire and rescue appliances.

Later you’ll have the opportunity to qualify in the specialist skills of fire safety, road traffic incident instructor and compartment fire behaviour training.

As part of your training, you’ll take an LGV driving test and qualify in emergency fire appliance driving techniques.

You’ll also have the opportunity to complete an Apprenticeship in Aviation Operations.

Your First Tour

For your first tour, you'll probably be posted to an RAF base where you'll work as part of a tight-knit team, on call to handle any emergencies. You’ll be expected to undertake firefighting and rescue operations.

Ongoing development

As your career progresses, we'll continue to train you in new skills. Early on, you could earn your Large Goods Vehicle driving licence and learn the specialist skills needed to drive firefighting vehicles.

You'll also have opportunities to continue the same programme of professional development as civilian firefighters, earning the same qualifications as they do at each stage of your career.

Your future

Career prospects

You’ll initially join the RAF for a period of nine years.

After a year, you’ll be eligible for promotion to Senior Aircraftman/woman if you pass a trade ability test. Further promotion to the rank of Corporal and beyond is by competitive selection.

Transferable skills

Because you’ll have all the development opportunities and career prospects of your civilian counterparts, along with civilian accredited qualifications, whenever you decide to leave the RAF you’ll be well placed to find a job as a civilian firefighter

Apply now

Call us on

0845 605 5555

  • Mon-Fri8am to 8pm
  • Sat9am to 6pm
  • Sun10am to 4pm
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