In the RAF
‘I am a Firefighter in the Royal Air Force. My official title is Crew Manager, which means I lead a small team on a specific task and can take charge of incidents involving up-to three pumping appliances.
As a Military firefighter, discipline is essential to success of any incident. RAF Firefighters are expected to act fast and on occasion independently from the team, so we need to be trusted to do as instructed.
You make so many friends whilst in the RAF, friends for life. In the fire service you’re part of a family, you’ll know everyone, trust everyone and have each other’s back in good times and in bad times.’
‘My role is very diverse. I could be at RAF Brize Norton working on a large RAF base, attending emergency incidents including road accidents, floods, terrorist incidents, spillages of dangerous substances and air crashes. The next day I could be instructing trainees at the Defence Fire Training & Development Centre in Kent.
Most fire stations will work a shift pattern, this does allow for some quality time off. On the other hand when you’re away on operations, you work 24hrs on 24hrs off. Operational shifts are demanding, but everyone is in the same position. It’s all worth it.’
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.
The next step is a specialist training course, at the Defence Fire Training & Development Centre Manston in Kent; the course consists of 17 weeks basic Fire-fighter training and a further 2 weeks of specific military training which includes:
1 week Apprenticeship Enrolment
1 week Airman Development Training
The basic course will teach you:
• St Johns Ambulance First Aid at Work
• Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
• Fire Service Drill
• Breathing Apparatus
• Structural Fire fighting
• Road Traffic Incident Techniques
• Aircraft Construction
• Crash Fire fighting Operations
You will deal with ‘live’ practice fires, and gain experience of specialist crash rescue Fire-fighting vehicles. Your specialist training will earn you a number of qualifications, including:
• Accreditation to the Institute of Fire Engineers at preliminary level
• St John Ambulance First Aid at Work qualification
• Home Office accreditation to wear breathing apparatus.
During your first 2 years of service you will work towards a Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship in Aviation Operations on the Ground. Consisting of Functional Skills level 2 in Mathematics and English which are completed during Phase 1 training, a Technical Certificate during Phase 2 training and a vocational Diploma will be completed at your first Unit.
Additional Qualification Opportunities
Level 3 Diploma – Fire Operations in the Community
Level 3 Training Assessment Quality Assurance (TAQA)
Level 3 Incident Command Award
Level 3 Diploma - Watch Manager
Level 4 Incident Command Award
Technician Institute of Fire Engineers
Graduate Institute of Fire Engineers
Member Institute of Fire Engineers
Ongoing Training/Development Opportunities
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 fire fighting vehicles by completing an Emergency Response Driver course.
Your First Tour
For your first tour, you will be posted to one of ten UK RAF bases where you’ll work as part of a tight-knit team, on call to handle any emergencies.
You’ll initially join the RAF for a period of twelve year on a Notice Engagement with effect from 1 Apr 15. After completing one year’s total service, you will be eligible for promotion to Senior Aircraftman, providing you pass a Trade Ability Test and Basic Trade Training. Further promotion to the rank of Corporal and beyond is by competitive selection Opportunities may also exist for suitable individuals to Commission into the Flight Operations (Fire) Branch.
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 fire-fighter.
You must have a minimum of GCSEs at Grade C (or equivalent) in English language and Maths or SCE Standard Grades at Grade 2/Scottish National 5 in English and Mathematics.
You must also hold a full UK driving license to apply for this role. Candidates must not wear glasses or contact lenses.
To join the RAF you will also need to meet fitness, health, nationality, residency, and other criteria detailed below.