The Firefighter Personal Qualities And Attributes
Every year, thousands of people apply to become a firefighter, yet only a very small number of those applicants successfully go on to pass the firefighter selection process. In this article I am going to explain why the majority of people fail by teaching you the importance of the firefighter personal qualities and attributes.
To begin with, however, I will list a number of reasons why people fail to pass the selection process:
– Failing to provide sufficient EVIDENCE on the application form and at interview of where they meet the firefighter PQA’s.
– Being unfit and unable to pass the minimum standards of entry to the Fire Service.
– Being unaware of what the role actually involves and the importance of community work within the Fire Brigade.
– Not having sufficient ability to pass the firefighter selection tests which include working with numbers, situational awareness and problem solving and also understanding information.
– Believing that the role of a firefighter is all about rescuing people from burning buildings and spending time in the gym.
The modern day firefighter has changed from the stereotypical view that the majority of members of the public hold. Whilst firefighters need to be physically fit, this is no longer the most important aspect of the role. What is important is the need to be able to demonstrate the personal qualities and attributes required to perform the role to the high standard expected. As such, the majority of people who attend selection fail because of an ability to demonstrate this evidence.
So, if you want to become a firefighter then you need to learn the following PQA’s and be able to match them:
Demonstrating a commitment to Diversity and Integrity
In the first PQA you will need to have belief in diversity and act with a high degree of integrity. The community in which we live in is diverse in nature and therefore, the Fire Service needs to be just as diverse if it is to provide the high level of service the public expects. You should be prepared to challenge behaviour within the Fire and Rescue Service which is inappropriate or discriminatory and also act in line with the Service’s ethos and expectations.
Being open to change within the Fire Service
The Fire Service is a continuously changing environment and as such you will need to be open to change. During the selection process you be required to answer questions about when you have previously supported change within an organisation. If you do not support change then perhaps the role of a firefighter is not for you.
Demonstrating a level of confidence and resilience
Firefighters are inherently confident people. They have belief in their own abilities, the belief in their team-mates and also the belief in their equipment. You will have to act with resilience at all times, especially during operational incidents involving house fire, road traffic collisions and people trapped under buildings. You will have to work often unsupervised and be relied upon to act with courage and discipline.
Having an ability to work with other people
Team work is one of the most important aspects of a firefighters role. You will not pass the selection process if you have not previously worked as part of a team. Firefighters have to work with other people in order to put out fires and extract casualties trapped within vehicles. Here is a sample interview question that is centred on this PQA:
“Can you give an example of when you have worked as part of a team to achieve a difficult task or goal?”
Being an effective communicator
Firefighters have to communicate, both verbally and in writing, every day of their working lives. How they communicate is very important. At a fire you will have to speak to the control centre by radio in order to request additional resource’s and also keep them updated on your progress at the incident. Once again, you will have to provide evidence of where you have previously done this in an alternative work related situation.
Having the ability to solve problems
In an emergency, Firefighters are the people we expect to resolve situations. Firefighters are practical people and they are required to solve difficult and complex problems.
Being aware of situations around you
Firefighters not only have to be aware of their own performance but they have to be aware of situations around them. Let’s assume you are attending a building fire. You will need to look out for dangers and also inform your teammates of those dangers. You have to have eyes in the back of your head at times as working as a firefighter can be extremely dangerous.
Demonstrating a commitment to excellence
The UK Fire Service is committed acting with a high degree of integrity and also delivering an excellent service to the public. Members of the public expect value for money from their Fire Service and the service they receive must be outstanding. You too will have to be capable of committing to excellence throughout your long Fire Service career.
So, the most important thing to remember when applying to become a firefighter is to make sure you have EVIDENCE of where you meet each and every one of the firefighter personal qualities and attributes.