When it comes to analysing salaries in the UK, the average firefighter salary is low compared to other popular job roles. Firefighters risk their lives on a regular basis and without them, many people would lose their lives and residential and commercial properties would be completely ruined due to fire damage.
Many public service jobs in the UK aren’t very well paid, however, a career as a firefighter is a rewarding one with many people training to become one each year. Below, you can find out more about this career choice and an average firefighter salary, and what those who may be earning less can do in a financial emergency.
I’m a Firefighter and I’ve Run Out of Money – What Can I Do?
Some firefighters may struggle with their finances like many of us, and may need financial support to cover unexpected expenses. At QuidMarket, we can help in this situation and provide affordable repayments on short term loans, even with a poor credit history to cover life’s unexpected events.
We understand that in some circumstances you need to immediately settle an emergency bill that will not wait until your next payday. If you can afford the repayments and you have no other savings or financial options to help, this can provide the solution you need. Any form of emergency loan should only be considered if you can afford to sustain the weekly or monthly repayments and it won’t cause you to fall into further financial difficulties.
How Can I Become a Firefighter?
If you are looking to become a firefighter, there are two degree courses in firefighting you may find, but these aren’t a necessary requirement and will not guarantee you will get a firefighter job. Instead, no formal qualifications are needed so the job can be suitable for school leavers or those not looking to complete higher education.
- You will need to be at least 18 years old and prepare to go through the National Firefighter Selection (NFS) process.
- The NFS involves a Personal Qualities and Attributes (PQA) test, physical tests, a medical, and then an interview; the process isn’t a short one!
- Candidates will always need to pass a background security check, by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
- Interestingly, due to the number of available roles, recruitment into the fire service usually only starts happening when numbers fall, either due to firefighters retiring or leaving the service.
- If you are accepted as a firefighter, the initial training program will consist of an intensive 12-18 weeks at a training centre with all the equipment you will need.
- New firefighters will learn basic fire safety skills, first aid and how to use an extinguisher to directly resolve a fire.
- Once the training process is completed, new firefighters will be invited to join a fire station and work a probation period. This is usually between 9 to 24 months depending on the specific station.
In addition to fighting fires, firefighters do many other things, not only put out fires. Other responsibilities firefighters undertake include attending to car accidents, extricating people from damaged vehicles, and assisting with hazardous material spillages. Firefighters also spend time completing paperwork including reports on emergency incidents they have attended, cleaning and maintaining their equipment, conducting training for drills, and keeping up their fitness levels.
It’s a very demanding and physical career, so being prepared for this as much as possible and understanding the role fully before applying is recommended.
How Much Do Firefighters Make? Do Firefighters Get a Pension?
Firefighters paid a proportion of their salary into their pension at a rate of 11% before 2010. In April 2016, the fireman salary in the UK was increased, and this was for the third successive year.
This meant an average firefighter’s salary of £29,000 would equate to £4,000 going towards pension contributions. During this time, rules were changed around eligibility and a full pension will only be received if a firefighter worked for over 40 years. You can find more details about Firefighter pension schemes here.
Due to the physical demands of the job, maintaining fitness levels is important. Those that cannot keep up with the fitness levels required sometimes have to retire early when much older. This can mean their pension can be reduced due to early retirement, ranging from as much as 20% to 45%.
The current firefighter average salary ranges are as follows:
- Starting salary for a Trainee is £24,191, rising to £32,244 once fully trained.
- Crew Managers range from £34,269 to £35,747
- Watch Manager’s salary ranges from £36,521 to £39,974
- Station Manager’s salary is between £41,578 to £45,861
- Group or Area Manager salary is between £47,887 and £61,667
Are there any Organisations for Firefighters?
A large union of 44,000 firefighters was founded in 1918, called the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). The perks of joining the FBU are to be part of the community of firefighters to help improve working conditions and provide a platform to discuss concerns on a national level. No matter the firefighter’s salary, joining the FBU would have advantages for any working firefighter. An accident and injury fund were also included, along with legal advice too. There is also the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE).
What Hours Do Firefighters Work?
Firefighters must work shifts, and normally this is in 2-day shift patterns, including 2-night shifts and then four days off-duty. For firefighters, the hours can vary, but for the London FRS, this will be a day shift of 10.5 hours and night shifts of 13.5 hours.
What’s a Retained Firefighter?
A retained firefighter isn’t a usual firefighter; they only attend the fire station when they are called out in the case of an emergency. Retained firefighters can have other jobs and carry an alert system with them to notify when they need to be available in the case of a fire emergency.
When the firefighter’s pocket alerter is activated, they have a maximum of 5 minutes to report to the fire station and get their equipment ready. Retained firefighters can come from home or work, during the day or night, meaning they could be called out any time when needed.
Is the Firefighter Salary Decreasing Over Time?
As time passes, a fireman’s salary in the UK is changing and this isn’t always for the good. More salary cuts have been made over the past few years and the future looks uncertain for firefighters. This might not be the best career to choose if you are looking to earn a high salary or more stable working conditions. This is because some firefighters may have to work a second job to make ends meet, so consider this before applying to become a firefighter.
Being as financially savvy whilst on a firefighter’s salary is important, as you may have to budget spending in some cases, or consider a second income. Some may even look for financial support through bad credit loans due to a low credit rating and a low average income, especially if they have emergency expenses to pay and no other way to settle this.
Here at QuidMarket, we are here to help if you have a low credit score and need emergency funds quickly. Whether it’s an emergency repair bill or other unexpected bills you cannot cover with savings alone, you can click to see how we can help. If you can afford the repayments required, we may be able to help today.