What is an On-Call FireFighter?


On-Call Firefighters provide emergency cover to over 90 percent of the UK.


There are over 14,000 On-Call Firefighters in England and they are responsible for operating 60 percent of all fire engines and just like full-time Firefighters, are trained to deal with everything from extinguishing burning buildings to providing first aid.

Most On-Call Firefighters are based in rural areas and will crew one or two appliances at a solely On-Call fire station. However, some are based in urban areas on stations alongside Wholetime crews. Some On-Call Firefighters also crew special appliances such as hydraulic platforms and water carriers. On-Call fire crews will be called upon to attend the full range of incidents including fires, floods, road traffic collisions, chemical spills and more, and work alongside their Wholetime colleagues at many incidents.

Firefighting is not like any other job


It can be unpredictable, exciting and rewarding coupled with the satisfaction and respect that comes with providing a crucial service to your local community.


You will learn new skills along the way such as first aid, road traffic collision procedures and fire safety, and there is an opportunity for you to learn other skills, such as Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) Driver. As an On-Call Firefighter you will receive remuneration for your availability, plus hourly rates (paid when you attend incidents or drill nights) and disturbance fees (paid when attending incidents).

lets talk about commitment…


You will need to be committed to train and gain the skills needed for the role.


For much of the time, an On-Call fire station is not crewed. Each On-Call Firefighter carries an alert device, which is activated when they are needed and they have a maximum amount of time to report to the fire station and mobilise the necessary appliance(s).

On-Call Firefighters will have other occupations, but when the call comes they drop whatever they are doing and become part of a team. Depending on the type of cover given, an On-Call Firefighter may respond from home and/or a place of work, day and/or night.

On-Call Firefighters are required to attend weekly drill nights. In addition to some weekend and other time periods to fulfill training for their role. There will also be opportunities to carry out additional duties such as, shifts with wholetime colleagues, community fire safety, equipment maintenance and testing and general station routines. These duties are in addition to responding to emergencies for which you will receive a disturbance fee and additional hourly rate payments. During periods of On-Call cover you receive a retaining fee.

Calls for our assistance include:

  • Animal rescues
  • Road traffic collisions
  • Property fires
  • Industrial fires
  • Fires in the open
  • Water rescues
  • Humanitarian assistance
  • Medical assistance
  • and many many more…

Our Fire stations


There are 20 strategically placed stations across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. These include 10 stand-alone On-Call stations, eight combined Wholetime/On-Call stations and two Wholetime stations.

1. Amersham
2. Aylesbury
3. Beaconsfield
4. Bletchley
5. Brill
6. Broughton
7. Buckingham

*  Wholetime only stations

8. Chesham
9. Gerrards Cross*
10. Great Holm
11. Great Missenden
12. Haddenham
13. High Wycombe
14. Marlow

15. Newport Pagnell*
16. Olney
17. Princes Risborough
18. Stokenchurch
19. Waddesdon
20. Winslow

Our Values


Underpinning everything we do is a set of values to which we aspire in all our dealings whether they are with the public, partner agencies or our own staff.

These values embrace:

Service to the community

  • Working with all groups to reduce risk
  • Treating everyone fairly and with respect
  • Striving for excellence in all we do
  • Being answerable to those we serve


  • Fairness and respect
  • Recognising commitment and the achievement of excellent service
  • Honesty and trust
  • Opportunities to develop and learn
  • Co-operation and inclusive working


  • Accepting responsibility for our performance and actions
  • Being open-minded and receptive to alternative approaches
  • Learning from our experiences
  • Supporting others to enable them to achieve their goals
  • Encourage innovation and creativity


  • Treating everyone fairly and with respect
  • Challenging prejudice and discrimination
  • Creating opportunities to meet the different needs of people and the communities
  • Promoting equal opportunities in terms of recruitment, promotion and retention

On-Call payment system


On-Call Firefighters receive a variety of payments for providing cover, training and responding to emergencies. As well as the current fee’s outlined below, we are also looking at alternative remuneration packages for a more flexible working arrangement.

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    Retaining fee
    A retaining fee is paid for the hours of cover that are provided by the On-Call Firefighter and will vary depending on the amount of cover agreed.

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    Disturbance fee
    This is a set amount that is paid each time that an On-Call Firefighter responds to an emergency.

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    Hourly rate
    Once alerted, an On-Call Firefighter is paid at a set hourly rate for the duration of the emergency call. They will also be paid at this rate for any training or additional work that they do for the Service.

Role Hourly Rate Disturbance Fee
Trainee £10.15 £3.90 per call
 Development £10.58 £3.90 per call
Competent £13.53 £3.90 per call
Crew Commander
Development £14.38 £3.90 per call
Competent £15.00 £3.90 per call

A newly recruited Firefighter will commence on the trainee rate of pay until they have completed all the acquisition training modules. They then progress to the development rate of pay until their portfolio is completed, usually after two years. At this point they will graduate to the competent rate of pay.

Providing cover

There are various ways in which cover can be provided to your local fire station. Cover given can be flexible and could be given during the day while at work or through the night and during the weekends while at home. We will look to have assured availability. When providing cover for emergencies, an On-Call Firefighter will be required to carry an electronic alerting device and remain within an agreed area for a rapid response.

Career Development

All members of the Fire & Rescue Service start their career gaining the essential front-line experience and training needed to become a competent Firefighter. For those On-Call Firefighters seeking promotion, there are opportunities available to progress and develop.

Employee benefits

The Authority’s benefits scheme enables you access to over 6000 discounts for employees and their family, on variety of goods including; holiday, fashion, gifts, cinema tickets, spa days, electronic good, motor and home maintenance. You can also benefit from:

  • Discount travel

    Save 34% on your train travel and 50% on Bus journeys throughout Buckinghamshire with a travel choices card.

  • Cycle 2 Work scheme

    Enabling you to purchase a bike and accessories tax free. Spreading the payments out direct from your pay.

  • Childcare vouchers

    Tax-free and exempt from National Insurance contributions, childcare vouchers enables you to save up-to £933 every year.

  • EAP

    The Employee Assistant Programme offers 24/7, confidential support including counselling, guidance and referrals on any work, personal or family issues.

Your training journey


The On-Call acquisition courses are split into a number of modules, these vary in length from the ten week safe to ride training and with the possibility of some weekends and additional evenings culminating in a residential Breathing Apparatus course. Your local manager will be able to give you further details regarding the content of these modules.

The courses include learning how to use equipment carried on the appliances to a basic and safe standard. It will involve theoretical input as well as demonstrations on the equipment and you will be required to demonstrate competency as the course progresses.

The modules are both physically and mentally challenging so successful applicants will need to ensure they maintain their fitness. Self-study will be necessary in your own time and you will be able to seek assistance from station personnel or Operational Training department staff should you require any further help.


Basics in fire ground safety, ladders, hoses and water delivery. Successfully passing this allows the recruit to attend emergency calls as a Trainee Firefighter.


Trainees will learn about Fire Service Hydraulics and how to operate Fire service pumps in a range of scenarios and environments.


Trainees will learn how to work safely at height, how to operate height safety equipment and perform rescues from height safely.


‘Road Traffic Collision’ Trainees learn how to safely resolve these types of incidents and operate technical rescue equipment


Breathing Apparatus and Compartment Fire Behaviour Training – Trainees will learn about Compartment Fire Behaviour, Operating and Wearing Breathing Apparatus, Extinguishing Fires & Carrying out rescues from these types of incidents.


With all initial training modules complete, the trainee can perform all the core firefighting tasks at an emergency. At this stage they begin the two-year development process to become a competent Firefighter.

Within the two year development period, you may also have the opportunity to attend further training modules such as Immediate Emergency Care (IEC), Tactical Ventilation, Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) Driver, Emergency Appliance Driver and other specialist skills specific to your area of response.


Competency in the role of Firefighter will be demonstrated through assignments, assessments and the completion of a Firefighter Development Portfolio. Further training in specific areas and skills will be acquired throughout the career of a Firefighter and competency maintained through continuous training.


Full-Time Mum

Being part of On-Call fire crew elevates serving your community to an entirely new level. It is a challenging role which will suit people who can work under pressure. The rewards of being a Firefighter are invaluable.

I first joined the Fire Service to give something back to the town which became home for me and my family. Subsequently, this role became a very important part of my life. There are many opportunities for personal development available for On-Call firefighters, but most importantly there’s nothing quite like responding to the sound of pager. Putting the fire kit on transforms you. When you arrive at an incident everyone looks at you with expectations and relief. The community rely on your help and it is a great privilege to be in this position.


Pest Control Officer

I have been in the service for 5 years.

I joined as I thought it would be a good way to give back to my community, I have two uncles that served as an On-Call Firefighters in the past and growing up in an On-Call family inspired me to follow in their footsteps. I really enjoy attending community events with the rest of the crew and informing the public on fire safety. I also enjoy helping people out in their time of need and having a positive effect on my community.

Being a Firefighter is challenging and can involve a number of situations not commonly found in other jobs. Take a moment to answer whether you are able to carry out the roles and responsibilities that are required.

Work at heights?

Work in enclosed spaces?

Get wet during your work?

Carry heavy equipment?

Work unsociable hours?

Work in situations where you may see seriously injured or deceased people?

To work outside of the working time directive?

Deal sensitively with people in difficult situations?

Provide an immediate response to your local station?

Obtain your primary employers consent?

Commit to additional time for training and On-Call requirements, outside of your weekly training sessions?

> On-Call station locator

Use the map below to enter your post code and find the closest On-Call Fire Station to you. Is there a Fire Station in your community?

Once you have located your nearest station, click “Directions” this will open Google Maps in a new window. Please ensure that your response time from either your home or place of work is within 5 minutes before starting the application process.

      If you think the role of an On-Call Firefighter is right for you. Start the application process today. Simply fill out our quick and easy contact form, give us a call or drop us an email.

      01296 744 673


      Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Authority is an equal opportunity employer, personal information is held for organisational and legal reasons. You can read more about it HERE

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