Firefighter Application Form Help – PQAs Sample Response

Firefighter Application Form Opening Advice

Having served 17 years in the Fire Service I would like to think that I am suitably qualified to offer firefighter application form help.

firefighter application

In this article I will provide you with some easy-to-follow tips that will improve the responses you provide to the competency based questions that form part of the firefighter application form.

To begin with it is important that I explain briefly how your form will be assessed.

In a nutshell, the person marking your firefighter application form will have many forms to assess. Whilst they will be thorough in how they assess the forms they do have a timeline to meet; therefore, it will work to your advantage if your form ticks the following boxes:

1. Your form is neat, tidy, east to read, concise and relevant.

The only way to achieve the first objective (above) is to take your time when completing the form. Do not rush it! Unless you have a very tight deadline to meet I would suggest spending a couple of evenings during the week completing your form. Try as hard as possible to make your firefighter application form easy to assess.

2. Your form includes keywords and phrases from the PQAs.


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The Firefighter PQAs

The firefighter PQAs are called the Personal Qualities and Attributes and are basically the key qualities that are required to become a firefighter in the UK. They cover different areas such as an ability to work as part of a team, being open to change and being able to work with people from all walks of life. When creating your responses to the competency based questions I strongly recommend that you incorporate keywords and phrases from the assessable PQA in your responses.

So, for example, the PQA for openness to change includes the following phrase:

Accepts change both within the Fire and Rescue Service and in their own role and adapts effectively (e.g. willingly participates in community fire safety activities).

When creating your response to the application form question that assesses openness to change I would include the following keywords and phrases in my response:

I understand the need for change in the Fire Service.

I openly accept change and embrace it.

I have the ability to adapt to changing environments.

Of course, you will need to provide evidence of where you meet the personal quality and attribute that is being assessed; however, hopefully you can begin to see why it is so important to make the assessors job easy when they are marking your form. If the person assessing your form reads your responses and keywords and phrases from the PQAs jump out at the them, you are far more likely to score higher.

firefighter application

Sample Response for the PQA ‘Openness to Change’

Let’s take a quick look at a sample response for the PQA ‘openness to change’. I have highlighted the keywords and phrases for you from the PQA in the response: Being open to change and actively supporting it.

Sample prompt:

“Please describe a situation where you have had to change the way you do something following a change imposed by someone in authority.”

WHAT DID YOU DO?

Whilst working in my current job as an Army soldier my Sergeant wanted to reorganise our team and change everyone’s roles and responsibilities as the Regiment were taking on newly qualified Soldiers. The Regiment was performing well but I looked upon this as an opportunity to see if we could progress the organisation further. I fully supported my Sergeant  and offered to assist him in the process of change. I willingly accepted working in a different role and looked to identify ways to support the required change. I was unsure of some of the working practices so I took the time to read the relevant training manuals so that I was fully conversant with the required working practices.

Why?

Change and continuous improvement is important if an organisation is going to keep on top of its game. I embrace change and look at it as a positive thing. I was aware the changes would make an impact on my role and I needed to know my new working practices so I could do my job effectively. Learning the new working practices from the training manual also allowed me to brief my colleague who was unsure of the steering drill and explain the reasons for this new practice.

What Happened As A Result?

The end result was that everybody understood the need for change in order to help the Army progress. After training together everybody settled into their new roles. The change had been a success as we passed our test exercises. I now also knew a lot more about the Regiment than I had previously done having tried new and different work. The team now works better together.

You can see that the highlighted keywords and phrases are taken from the personal quality and attribute for openness to change. If you follow the above tip when completing your firefighter application form then you will have far greater chance of success.

See here to find out more about how to complete the firefighter application form.

I also offer a firefighter application form checking service. Whilst I will not create your answers for you, I will assess your form and make recommendations for improvement where I feel it requires it.

Good luck in completing your firefighter application form.

Richard McMunn

Fire Officer with Kent Fire and Rescue Service – (1993-2009)

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