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Fire and resilience

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Careers in the fire and rescue service

In the 21st century the role of the Fire and Rescue Service is far broader than it has ever been before. Community fire safety is now as important a part of the Service's role as operational intervention, helping each year to drive down deaths and injuries. This is done by providing guidance, information and practical help to the public, such as fitting smoke alarms. The Fire and Rescue Service also has a role to play in wider civil resilience provisions and plays a key role in the event of flooding and other natural disasters, major incidents and terrorist attacks.

Today's enhanced role makes flexibility, personal skills and competencies increasingly important; this is true for all staff irrespective of their role. Career opportunities exist beyond the operational fire and rescue role, for example, fire control operators, civil resilience, community fire safety and education, procurement, finance, administration and personnel.

Firefighters have one of the most respected jobs in the community. They are trained to deal with a wide range of situations and incidents including fires, road traffic accidents, dealing with hazardous materials and floods, and increasingly protecting the community through fire safety work.

Firefighters can be either Wholetime (full-time) or employed on a Retained Duty System (RDS). Wholetime firefighters are permanently based at and mobilised from a fire station, whereas RDS firefighters are often fully employed in other occupations and respond to calls from their home or place of work. They are a vital part of today's Fire and Rescue Service, providing an efficient, effective service that gives emergency cover to more than 90 per cent of the UK and operate 60 per cent of the fire appliances. They are predominantly based outside urban areas and major towns.

The Fire and Rescue Service Equality and Diversity Strategy 2008-2018 confirms the Service's commitment to be inclusive organisations which reflect all sections of society irrespective of gender, ethnicity, disability, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation. By developing and retaining a workforce which reflects the diversity of their local community, fire and rescue services are better able to understand and respond to the needs of those communities.

In April 2008, the Fire Minister, Parmjit Dhanda MP announced that a graduate entry scheme and a high potential scheme should be developed, in partnership with stakeholders. The aim is to attract a wider cross section of talent to the Service and to map out a clear career path for the Service leaders of the future so enhancing the leadership capacity in the Service.

The development of a graduate entry scheme is part of a programme of initiatives aimed at raising the profile of the Fire and Rescue Service. This programme included an awareness raising campaign launched by Communities and Local Government in Summer 2006 aimed at encouraging women aged between 18 and 34 years to consider firefighting as a career.

To find information about your local fire and rescue service, see the document below named 'Fire and rescue service recruitment contacts'. Contact your local service direct to find out more about the opportunities in your area.

Information on working for the fire and rescue service

The Department also produces a range of material which provides information about working for the fire and rescue service, the brochures can be found below.

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