Employing a Retained Firefighter 

Benefits to you as the Employer

Retained Duty System (RDS) Firefighters currently employed by the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service are men and women from a variety of backgrounds and occupations, Skilled Workers, Supervisors, Teachers, Production Operatives, Production Managers, Office Workers, and many other various trades and crafts to numerous to mention.

There are also Housewives, Househusbands and Self-employed people working the retained duty system!

Positive Advertising

Some employers have experienced that having an RDS firefighter as an employee has raised their company’s profile. Local press and trade publications are often interested in spreading the word about those companies and their workers who support their local community. 

Employing a Retained Firefighter could save you Thousands of Pounds

Firefighters bring skills back into their primary workplace through the training and experiences gained with the Fire Service that can be very useful in any workplace. Their work is vital to the safety of people and property in the area and the support of employers allowing their staff to respond is essential.


A trained Firefighter learns many skills, a lot of which can be useful in any workplace. Firefighters learn to work well in a team, have diversity awareness training, are encouraged to think quickly, take responsibility and use their initiative, to communicate fast and accurately and to remain calm in a crisis.

Fire Awareness Training

  • One day Fire Warden Course  -  £110 per day excluding VAT

Fire Safety

  • Introductory Fire Safety Course  - £70 per day excluding VAT

First Aid

SWF&RS deliver HSE accredited First Aid at Work courses.  These skills are widely accepted by employers and can contribute to the requirement under legislation for first aid provision in the workplace, cutting the cost of training.

  • Typical four day First Aid Course      -  £250 per person excluding VAT.
  • Typical one day First Aid Refresher  -  £150 excluding VAT.
  • Total saving between    -      £400

Manual Handling

Qualified instructors in the correct procedures to be adopted when lifting or moving items train all Firefighters.  The training involves learning simple techniques that could prevent injuries occurring, thus potentially reducing time lost at work through sickness or injury.

Manual Handling Course    -   £240 -  excluding VAT

Health and Safety Training

  • Help with Health and Safety Regulations

Risk assessments and fire hazards are all part of the training for Firefighters so they can support health and safety officers to meet their obligations and improve the safety of all your staff.

  • Five day Risk Assessment Course   -    £475 -  excluding VAT
  • Health & Safety in the Workplace (I.O.S.H. Level 2)  -   £95 per day -  excluding VAT

Personal Development

Training is on going – Firefighters must maintain and develop their skills continuously. Staff that are willing to learn and develop are vital to any organisation.   RDS stations hold Training and Development sessions (Drill) weekly, on a weekday evening for a period of 2 - 3 hours.

Motivated staff – Staff who are able to fulfil their ambitions and potential are usually     happier and more productive in the workplace. Firefighters must be highly motivated to take on the task and this motivation will help them in everything they do.

Committed employees – Being a Firefighter takes commitment and energy, no one takes on the role lightly. Committed fire fighters responding from work are likely to be committed staff.

Trained to deal with emergencies – Fire fighters must be able to deal with a whole range of situations, they never quite know what they might find when they respond to an emergency, so they are likely to be able to better cope with the challenges of working life.

So although an employee may have to rush off at any moment, and could be away for a period of time, the benefits could make this worthwhile, and you as the employer, will have the satisfaction of knowing they are supporting something that could really make a difference.

Occupational Health Support

South Wales Fire & Rescue Service provides its entire staff with a comprehensive Occupational Health package.

The aim of occupational health practice is to protect and promote workers’ health, to sustain and improve their working capacity and ability, to contribute to the establishment and maintenance of a safe and healthy working environment for all, as well as to promote the adaptation of work to the capabilities of workers, taking into account their state of health.  This is achieved through the provision of support and technical services, appropriate risk assessment, evaluating, treating and limiting temporary or permanent disabilities and assisting employees in controlling personal health.

During their employment with the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service, retained firefighters are required to pass a periodic medical examination once every three years. 

Self-referral consultations are available for retained firefighters wanting to seek confidential advice regarding any medical concern relevant to his/her employment.  A confidential counselling service is accessible including cognitive behavioural therapy, bereavement counselling, post trauma counselling and Welsh medium counselling.

Under special circumstances, on the advice of the Occupational Health Physician, the SWF&RS will fund private referrals for medical investigations and treatments where there is clear financial advantage to the Service, examples of treatments might include, orthopaedic intervention, physiotherapy, specialist psychological treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my employee is out all night at an incident and is unfit for work the next day?

Fire fighters no longer remain at incidents for long periods.  It is recognised that extended periods of exertion can lead to accidents through tiredness and lack of concentration. At prolonged incidents, personnel are relieved of their duties after 4 hours of work.

If my employee gets called out, I won’t know how long they will be gone for?

For illustration purposes an appendix can be provided that details the average calls per week and the average length of each call at your respective station.  We do our utmost to minimise the impact that a retained firefighters duties have upon their primary employment.  At prolonged incidents arrangements can be made to relieve a retained firefighter from incidents to enable them to return to their primary employment.

What if my employee gets injured while at an incident?

This is a very rare occurrence as they are trained to a high standard before they are fully operational.  If this does happen, the Fire and Rescue Service has policies in place for compensating the employee for any loss of earnings after Statutory Sick Pay.

Our employees are often on call for business. How would this work?

They would not be on call with South Wales Fire & Rescue Service if they were on call with you. The primary employer will always have priority.


Employer Information

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service recognises that on occasions employers may wish to contact us for information, support or reassurance and we will endeavour to assist in any way we can.

For any further information or queries contact our Recruitment Team:

Tel: 01443 232200

E-mail: recruitment@southwales-fire.gov.uk 

Page Last Updated on 06/9/2016