How to Become a Firefighter in Scotland

Written by siobhan russell
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How to Become a Firefighter in Scotland
Many rural firefighters in Scotland are retained, instead of full time employees. (Fireman on Ladder image by Jeffrey Zalesny from

To become a firefighter in Scotland, you will have to pass a variety of tests, including meeting specific fitness levels. Scottish firefighters not only put out fires. They participate in rescue of humans and animals, provide assistance during road accidents and bomb alerts, advise local communities on fire safety, perform inspections, and deal with hazardous materials. There are 38,000 full time firefighters in the United Kingdom, with an additional 16,500 working part time, according to

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Good eyesight
  • Good hearing
  • Physical fitness

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  1. 1

    Check to see if your physical condition meets Scottish firefighter standards. Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service states that the gear worn by firefighters weighs 25kg (23.2 Kilogram). You will have to work quickly in difficult situations, while using heavy equipment, and carrying this weight (reference 2). Each local fire service has its own fitness standards. Contact each one to learn about its requirements.

  2. 2

    Research and apply for firefighting job vacancies. In Scotland, firefighters work either full time or are "retained." Retained firefighters are those who work other jobs, but stay on call to respond to emergency situations. To work as a retained firefighter, you will need permission from your employer, since this may require you to leave work when an emergency arises. Job openings are advertised by the local fire service or on the Careers Scotland website. The minimum age at which you may apply is 18.

  3. 3

    Take the required tests. Before getting accepted into firefighter training in Scotland you must pass medical, written, and fitness tests. The written test is called the Fire Service Entry test. Different fire services in Scotland have different standards. For example, some will accept those who wear glasses and others will not. You must not suffer from any breathing problems, have a fear of heights or working in tight spaces, and be agile.

  4. 4

    Attend firefighter training. According to Careers Scotland, training consists of a local two-day induction, followed by training at the Scottish Fire Services College that lasts 12 to 16 weeks (reference 3). Following the training, you get placed on probation for two years, with regular assessments.

  5. 5

    Pursue additional training to advance your firefighting career. This training is needed should you wish to specialise or attain senior positions within the Scottish fire service. Areas of speciality include fire investigation and fire safety.

Tips and warnings

  • Cut your hair and shave. Long hair and facial hair often are not permitted since it may interfere with breathing equipment.

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