The Process of Becoming a Retained Firefighter
Vacancies are advertised in the local newspapers, on local radio and on this websites' Job Vancancies Section as vacancies arise.
- An application form must be completed.
- A Garda Vetting form must be completed.
- When a vacancy appears, interviews are held and qualified candidates are put on a panel.
- From this panel persons are asked to carry out a medical and a physical test.
- If successful at these tests a person is sent on a Two Week Firefighter Recruit Induction Course. Once this is successfully completed the new Firefighter is given an alerter and will then attend fires with the remainder of the crew.
- The new Firefighter is usually sent on a Breathing Apparatus Course within a year of joining the Fire Service, this must be successfully passed.
The position of Retained Firefighter is very onerous in that a person is available for calls at all times unless he/she has got approval not to attend from his/her Station Officer.
The main requirement when recruiting Firefighters is that they live and work within a reasonable distance of the Fire Station, and to have a reasonable level of fitness.
Positions are open to male and female applicants.
What being a Retained Firefigher Means
When a call is received for the Fire Brigade, the alerters for a particular brigade are activated and the firefighters, who each carry an alerter, respond to the fire station immediately. Firefighters could be at work, or at home in bed when called. They then make their way to the station as quickly and as safely as possible.
Retained firefighters are men and women who are on call to respond to a range of emergencies. Many retained firefighters have other full or part-time jobs but when the call comes they are ready to drop whatever they are doing and become part of a team, ready to face any emergency. Although they are part-time they are fully trained and capable of saving life and property. This provides a comprehensive fire brigade service to the community, 24/7 under any conditions.
As well as responding to emergency calls and undertaking community fire safety initiatives, retained firefighters attend weekly training nights to maintain competency levels. They must also undertake routine checks on their equipment and fire appliance as well as test, clean and maintain the equipment to ensure it will work properly when required during an emergency. All new recruits undergo extensive initial training including a two week Recruit Induction course and a two week Breathing Apparatus Wearers Course.
A firefighter can be called upon to tackle a wide range of emergency situations where problem solving skills and initiative will be vital to resolve issues quickly and calmly. Incidents vary from fire fighting and rescuing people from burning buildings to dealing with chemical incidents and road traffic collisions. A sensitive approach will be required when dealing with members of the public who may be distressed and confused.
There are certain personal attributes that are required of any professional firefighter. These include confidence, resilience, adaptability, effective communication, integrity and a commitment to diversity.
All firefighters are required to undergo a continuous development training programme by attending lectures, exercises, practical courses and other forms of training to maintain competency levels. They are expected to take responsibility for developing their own skills and ensuring that fitness levels are maintained as the work can be demanding, both physically and mentally.