Kent Fire & Rescue Service
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The job, pay and hours

The job, pay and hours

This is an exciting job that makes a real difference to your community. Once trained you will be fighting fires, helping at road traffic collisions and other rescue operations. You will also maintain, test and clean equipment and kit and help raise awareness of fire and road safety at local events.

Training is an essential part of being a firefighter and we have a continuous training programme to ensure that you can do your job safety.

Pay and hours

Pay will vary according to how many hours you agree to be on-call. You will be required to be available for 50 hours which must include 30 hours of pre-determined times and days.  Remember you aren't actually working for that amount of time, we are paying you to be "available". You can go about your normal life at home or work, but if you get a call to say we need you, you must be able to drop what you are doing and get to the station within five minutes. The activity may vary each week as we can't predict how many fires or road crashes we will need you to attend, but here are some typical examples to give you an idea.

Other benefits include access to the pension scheme, paid leave and access to the Child care voucher scheme, access to Benenden Health Care and an excellent level of training and opportunities for personal development.


Pete's main job is working in a local garage, but he is also a fully-qualified on-call firefighter for Kent Fire and Rescue Service. He lives within five minutes of his local station. We needed firefighters at that station for weekends and early mornings, and this suited Pete too. He has a contract to be on-call at weekends and early mornings (from 5am to 8am before his day job begins).

During these hours he can go about his normal life at home or work, but if he gets a call to say we need him, he must be able to drop what he is doing and get to the station within five minutes. We pay him whether he is called out or not. Of course pay varies according to how many hours staff are contracted to be on-call.

  • Pete has a 60 hours on-call contract, for which he receives £5,850 a year (as a fully qualified on-call firefighter - after having completed his training and development).
  • There is no such thing as a typical week, but during this week Pete spent two hours at his drill night, plus four hours attending incidents and some time undertaking administration and maintenance.
  • So his total for that week was six hours. This will vary from week to week and depending on which station an on-call firefighter works at.
  • It is unusual that Pete gets called out to incidents for more than eight hours during any single month, but when this does happen he receives an extra payment of £12.88 for every hour he works above the eight (more information below).
    • Monday morning - no calls
    • Tuesday morning - no calls
    • Wednesday morning - called out at 6am to the station. Fire engine goes out to deal with a fire in a waste bin in a local park. Back at the station at 7am and home at 8.30am.
    • Thursday night - training (usually 7 to 9pm, but this varies between stations)
    • Friday - no calls
    • Saturday - called out at 11am to assist at a house fire in a nearby town. Two other fire engines from other stations are already at the fire and get it under control quicker than expected, so Pete's station engine is not needed, are turned around before they get to the fire and he is home again by 11.30am.
    • Sunday - at 4pm Pete is called to a road crash. No one is hurt, but his crew assist the distressed car driver until the ambulance crew arrive. They also make sure the road is clear so things can get moving again. He is back at the station by 6pm and home again shortly afterwards.

More information on payments

Contractual pay

  • The maximum contract is typically 60 hours per week (but this can vary).
  • * So for someone on a 60 hour on-call contract, included within your monthly contractual pay is the first 8 hours operational firefighting (operational) activity. Further payments are made for specific additional operational activities above the contractual pay. Any activity undertaken above 8 hours, in the month, is paid in addition to the contractual pay, at the nationally set hourly rate.
  • Variations to the 60 hours per week are paid as pro rata accordingly.
  • When competent you will required to undertake 137 hours per annum for core training activity, payment for this is included in your contractual pay.
  • The on-call contract also includes 52 hours per annum for routines and station administration.
  • On-call firefighters are paid in accordance with the rates set out by the National Joint Council for Local Authority Fire and Rescue Service

Initial training

You will receive a payment based on the National Joint Council's (NJC) Local Authorities' Fire Services firefighter trainee hourly rate of pay on confirmation of your completion and attendance of the initial training to include:

  • 2 days induction course
  • 7 hours self study required prior to foundation course
  • 18 hours for guided learning that you will complete with the station between Induction and foundation
  • 10 days foundation training

When the initial training is successfully completed you will be considered to be in development and receive the NJC Development rate of pay as a firefighter.

During your development phase you will be required to attend core training to attain the skills required to be a competent firefighter.  For these training events you will be paid the firefighter development hourly rate.

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