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Running out hose

What is an On-Call firefighter?

On-Call crews will be called upon to attend the full range of incidents including fires, floods, road traffic collisions, chemical spills and more, and work alongside their Full-Time colleagues at many incidents.

Our On-Call Fire Stations

There are 22 strategically placed On-Call Fire Stations across Humberside Fire and Rescue Service area. These include 19 stand-alone On-Call stations and 3 combined Full-Time/On-Call stations.

Most On-Call firefighters are based in rural areas and will crew a designated fire engine at an On-Call fire station. However, some are based in urban areas on stations alongside Full-Time crews (Full-Time firefighters).

Some of these On-Call Stations also have specialist appliances such as High Volume Pumps, Water Support Units, Command Units and Aerial Ladder Platforms.

Click here to find out if you are close to an On-Call Fire Station.

Our On-Call Stations

Map of the Humber region with marked locations of all stations, each local authority is a different colour

Providing availability

You need to live or work within five minutes (driving at normal road speed) of an On-Call fire station. You have to be flexible in your work because no-one can predict when you’ll be called out, each firefighter carries an ‘alerter’ so that they can respond when required.

There is a basic salary based on the specified hours declared in a Firefighters Availability Profile and an additional payment for responding and attending incidents.

Shift system

Most of our On-Call firefighters have full-time occupations outside of the Fire and Rescue Service, some of those have an agreement with their employers they can be released from their normal occupation to attend incidents as and when required. However, others manage their availability around their full time employment.

As such they have agreed to commit themselves when required, this commitment includes:

  • A requirement to attend a weekly development session
  • A requirement to attend training courses as and when necessary
  • A commitment to respond to emergency calls

What sort of commitment we will need from you?

You will need to be committed to responding when you are needed.

For much of the time, an On-Call fire station does not have a crew in it.

As an On-Call firefighter you will be alerted when you are needed and have 5 minutes (driving at normal road speed) to report to your On-Call Fire Station and, with your crew, mobilise the necessary fire engine(s).

Our On-Call firefighters usually have other occupations, but when the call comes they drop whatever they are doing and become part of our team.

Depending on the type of cover given, as an On-Call firefighter you could respond from home and/or a place of work, day and/or night.

You will receive a retaining fee relevant to the amount of hours availability you can provide. You will receive a disturbance fee and additional hourly rate payments when responding to an emergency.

You will need to be committed to train and gain the skills needed for the role.

On-Call firefighters are required to fulfil training for their role and must attend regular training activities, in addition to some and other pre-planned centrally based training sessions provided by our Training Department.

You will also have opportunities to carry out additional duties such as, community fire safety sessions, equipment maintenance and testing and general station routines. These duties are in addition to responding to emergencies such as:

  • Animal rescues
  • Road traffic collisions
  • Property fires
  • Industrial fires
  • Fires in the open
  • Water rescues
  • Humanitarian assistance
  • Medical assistance
  • and many, many more…

You will obtain knowledge and learn new skills along the way such as first aid, road traffic collision procedure and fire safety. As well as having the opportunity to learn other skills, such as driving a large goods vehicle.

Our commitment to you

You will be paid for all of the above commitments you make, which can add up to an attractive secondary form of income. You will gain many transferrable skills through training and development, including team working, leadership, communication, first aid, trauma care, fire and health and safety.

We will ensure that you acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and confidence to become an essential part of our team protecting your local community.

Online tests

The three ability tests: Verbal Reasoning (20 questions), Numerical Reasoning (18 questions) and Mechanical Reasoning (20 questions). Each test has a time limit and questions are randomised. All questions are relevant to the Fire Service.

Example tests are available below, please note the links below open up a new web page.

Verbal Reasoning

Numerical Reasoning

Mechanical Reasoning

These test your English and Math skills, if you wish to improve these ahead of the online process there are various courses within the Humberside area, click here to find out more.

Reasonable adjustments

Before the Ability Tests are undertaken, candidates are asked whether they have dyslexia. If so, please contact our Recruitment Team by email with evidence of your diagnosis. Once confirmed, candidates will be allocated extra time (normally 25%) to complete the three timed tests.

If there are other reasonable adjustments in relation to disability, individuals are asked to email the recruitment email address with their enquiry providing as much detail as possible.

Any questions or problems you may encounter should be directed in email to the On-Call Support Team:

Verification Test

You will be asked to log in to the on-line account that you set up for your initial application and ability tests and complete a verification test.

This will be in a controlled classroom environment at Service Headquarters on the day of the practical assessments.

Practical selection tests

Take a look at the videos below to find out more about the practical selection tests.

Ladder lift text video transcript

To complete the test successfully,

you will need to combine endurance, upper and lower body strength,

and coordination to lift a ladder to do required height and lower

it safely under control. The cradle will be weight loaded.

There will be 3 lifts in total.

There is no time limit to complete this test.

Ladder climb test video transcript

To complete the test successfully,

you will need to demonstrate confidence going up

the ladder, applying the correct technique and coming down again.

There is a time limit of 3 minutes. Within this test

you will have to demonstrate a leg lock and look over and successfully

call out a symbol as instructed.

You will be wearing a full body harness and will be attached to the fall arrest device.

Ladder extension test video transcript

To complete the test successfully,

you will need to haul the ladder to the maximum height and then lower safely under control.

Applying the correct technique.

There will be a time limit to complete this test and it is 14.5 seconds.

You'll be in Instructed,

how to use the correct technique before the test starts.

30 meter casualty drag test video transcript

To complete the test successfully,

you will need to combine upper

and lower body strength and coordination and must complete this test within a time limit.

The time limit is 37.4 seconds.

The test will be set out in 10 meter sections,

with a 90-degree turn after the first and second 10 meter sections.

Ladder extend to lower test video transcript

To complete the test successfully,

you will need to raise the ladder, a short distance to simulate the

action required to extend to lower a ladder.

There is no time limit to complete this test.

The instructor will command stop when the instructor is satisfied with the lift.

Enclosed space test video transcript

To complete the test successfully,

you will need to wear a breathing apparatus mask.

You will not be under air, you'll be assisted by an instructor to put on a breathing apparatus,

mask, gloves, and helmet. With your mask un covered

and in natural light, you'll be expected to enter the enclosed space.

The aim is to negotiate the enclosed space.

This test will confirm your ability to move safely in enclosed and confined spaces.

Once you returned back to the entrance,

your mask will be covered over and you will be expected to go through the space again.

There will be a time limit to complete this test and you will have

5 minutes.

Equipment carry test video transcript

To complete the test successfully,

you will need to combine endurance, upper and lower body strength and co-ordination.

You will be carrying equipment over the length of the course,

moving around the two cones which cover a distance of 25 metres.

The items are laid out in order,

which they are to be used, there is a start and finish line.

There is a time limit to this test and the time to complete,

it is 5 minutes and 37 seconds.

Manual dexterity test video is currently unavailable

To complete the test successfully, you will need to assemble and then when ordered to do so, disassemble the equipment on the table in front of you following a number of diagrams.

There is a time limit to complete the test and it is 4 minutes 43 seconds.

The swim test is designed to ensure that you have a basic level of swimming competency and that you are also confident in water.

It is advised that you practice the test at your local swimming pool or gym beforehand.

Swim test video transcript

The swim test is designed to ensure that you have a basic level of swimming competency

and that you are also confident in water.

To complete the test successfully, you must swim two lengths of a 25 meter pool

unaided and without stopping within 90 seconds.

A swim stroke used must be front crawl.

For this, you can swim with your head in or out of the water.

You should wear appropriate swimming attire and goggles may also be worn.

Under the supervision of the instructor, you'll be asked to

lower yourself into the pool using the ladder.

You will start with one hand and both feet on the wall.

Stand by. Go. On the go signal,

you will swim to the opposite end of the pool.

Touch the wall, turn without placing your feet down and swim back to the start.

Time will stop once you have placed your hand on the side of the pool.

You'll then be instructed to exit the pool using the ladder.

You'll be unsuccessful. Should you stop swimming.

Your feet touch the floor. Use the lane marker

or side of the pool to assist you or exceed the 90 second time limit.

It's advised that you practice the test at your local swimming pool,

or gym beforehand.

Fitness test

Take a look at the video below to find out more.

Multi stage fitness test video transcript

Multi-stage fitness tests, our bleep test,

Is a progressive running test that is used to predict aerobic fitness.

This involves running back and forth under twenty metre course in time with an audible bleep.

You should pace yourself, so that your foot touches, or is behind the line when hearing the bleep.

Before turning and running to the other end of the course in time with the next bleep.

At first, your running speed will be slow,

but will increase at the start of each level when you'll hear a triple bleep.

To be successful, you'll need to reach level 8,

shuttle 8. This is the equivalent to running

for approximately 8 and a half minutes covering a distance of 1400 metres,

which is close to one mile. You can familiarise yourself beforehand by

downloading a 20 metre bleep test app from your devices app store.

Many of these are free to download. Ensure that you use a suitable open space

and measure the distance of the course to provide an accurate result.

You can attempt a similar test on a treadmill by running for nine minutes,

starting at 8.5 kilometers per hour

and increasing speed by 0.5 kilometers per hour each minute.

You can also use a bleep test app to help you to train for the test.

Try running one level, then resting one level until you can no longer keep up with the bleep.

You can also do this with a partner by running alternate levels

and resting whilst your partner runs.

Another example is to forward the app to level 7,

complete the level, then rest for one minute and repeat three to four times.

Try to progress this to level 8,

or level 9, so that you are confident of passing the test.


Your training to become a fully qualified competent Firefighter will take a period of time, with each step building on the last. The following provides an overview of what to expect.

IOSH (Health and Safety training)

Time: 1 Day

You will undertake an IOSH Working Safely course and learn the foundations for good working practices in the work place to ensure yourself and others are kept safe.

Phase A - Pumps and Ladders

Time: 10 Days

You will learn the basics in fire ground safety, using and storing our ladders, using and storing hoses and water delivery. Which will also include learning about fire service hydraulics and how to operate fire service pumps in a range of scenarios and environments. How to work safely at height, how to operate height safety equipment and perform rescues from height safel

Phase B – Breathing Apparatus and Compartment Fire Behaviour Training

Time: 12 Days

You will learn about fire behaviour, operating and wearing breathing apparatus, extinguishing fires and carrying out rescues from these types of incidents.

Phase C – Immediate Emergency Care

Time: 5 Days

You will learn the most advanced, up to date trauma skills currently available to non-health care professionals in the UK and be taught how to identify and treat life-threatening emergencies and prepare casualties for rapid evacuation to hospital.

Phase D – Road Traffic Collisions

Time: 5 Days

You learn how to safely resolve these types of incidents and operate technical rescue equipment.

Phase E – Water

Time: 2 Days

You will gain the knowledge and skills required to carry out rescues in a swift water and flood water environment.


Time: 1 Day

You will gain an understanding of what hazardous substances are and the risks associated with them at an incident.

Trainee Firefighter Development Programme

Time: 33 Months

With all initial training modules complete, you will be able to perform all the core firefighting tasks at an emergency.

At this stage you begin the 33 month Trainee Firefighter Development Programme to become a competent Firefighter.

Within this period, you will be trained and validated using the Skills For Justice Fire Functions and National Occupational Standards including:

  • Informing and educating your community to improve awareness of fire and rescue safety matters
  • Respond to operational incidents requiring breathing apparatus
  • Taking responsibility for effective performance in fire and rescue
  • Extricate casualties from situations of entrapment
  • Save and preserve endangered life
  • Operate fire service water pumps
  • Resolve fire and rescue operational incidents
  • Provide a first response to water based incidents
  • Working at height in fire service
  • Protect the environment from the effects of hazardous materials
  • Support the effectiveness of operational response
  • Support the development of colleagues in fire and rescue
  • Contribute to fire safety solutions to minimise risks to your community
  • Drive fire and rescue service vehicles

Fully qualified competent firefighter

Your competency in role will be demonstrated through assignments, assessments and the completion of a firefighter development portfolio.

Further training in specific areas and skills will be acquired throughout your firefighting career and your competency maintained through continuous training.

On-Call payment system

Our On-Call firefighters receive a variety of payments for providing cover, training and responding to emergencies.

Retaining fee

A retaining fee is paid for the hours of cover that you provide as an On-Call firefighter and will vary depending on the amount of cover agreed. This is only paid once recruit training is complete and you enter Firefighter development.

For example: a firefighter on a 70 Prime contract would receive per year £3623.76 while in development phase and when competent this would increase to £4830.14 per year.

Disturbance fee

This is a set amount that is paid each time you respond to an emergency as an On-Call firefighter.

Hourly rate

Once alerted, you will be paid at a set hourly rate for the duration of the emergency call. You will also be paid at this rate for any training or additional work that you do for the Service.

Role: Firefighter Hourly Rate Disturbance Fee
Trainee (for course attendance and development sessions only) £11.82 Not applicable as a Trainee
Development £12.31 £4.54 per call
Competent £15.75 £4.54 per call

As a newly recruited On-Call firefighter you will start on the trainee hourly rate of pay, and stay on it until you have completed all the acquisition training modules.

You will then progress to the development hourly rate of pay until your portfolio is completed, usually after 33 months.

At this point you will graduate to the competent hourly rate of pay.

Employee benefits


As one of our On-Call firefighters you will be eligible for membership to the 2015 Firefighters’ Pension Scheme. The 2015 Scheme is a Career Average Revalued Earnings (“CARE”) pension scheme, which came into effect on 1 April 2015. It is open to firefighters who took up employment on or after 1 April 2015, and whose role includes:

  • resolving operational incidents; or
  • leading and supporting others in the resolution of such incidents; and
  • firefighters who are transition members.

To find out how the changes affect you, please click here.

If you have any further questions, please call the team on 01482 567540 or email