Retained Duty System (RDS) (on-call) Firefighters


We are not currently recruiting for Retained Duty System (RDS) (on-call) firefighters. The next RDS recruitment campaign is anticipated to start later this year. 

What are the requirements to become an RDS firefighter?

To apply for an RDS firefighter vacancy you must:

  • Live or work within 4-5 minutes journeying time of the RDS station that is recruiting
  • Your employer must be willing for you to attend emergencies during your working hours
  • Be 18 years of age or within six months of your 18th birthday
  • Be physically fit

What does an RDS firefighter do?

RDS firefighters provide an efficient and effective service that gives emergency cover to more than 90% of the United Kingdom. They are paid volunteers who do the same job as full-time firefighters, however instead of being based on a fire station they are 'on-call' from work (employer's consent required) and/or home.

Drill nights

What are drill nights?

Drill nights give people who wish to become a retained duty system firefighter the opportunity to come along and see what firefighters actually do. This is a great way to observe what is involved in becoming a retained firefighter. The evening covers operational procedures such as:

  • Community safety and first aid
  • How to keep risks to a minimum
  • Procedures and techniques
  • Teamwork
  • Use of equipment

An important part of your preparation for making an application to become a trainee firefighter includes having knowledge and understanding of the firefighter’s role and values within the fire and rescue service.

Drill night times

Drill nights are held weekly and no appointment is necessary, however you must contact the Station Manager upon arrival. Click the button below to view the drill night times for the station nearest to you:

Station​​Drill night​Time
​Brackley​Wednesday​6:30pm to 9:30pm
​Brixworth​Monday​7pm to 9pm
​Burton Latimer​Thursday​6:45pm to 9:45pm
​Daventry​Thursday​7:30pm to 9:30pm
​Desborough​Monday​6:30pm to 9:30pm
​Earls Barton​Wednesday7pm to 9pm
​Guilsborough​Monday​7pm to 9pm
​Irthlingborough​Tuesday​7pm to 10pm
​Kettering​Tuesday​​6:45pm to 9:45pm
​Long Buckby​Thursday​7pm to 9pm
​Moulton​Wednesday​7pm to 9pm
​Oundle​Wednesday​​6:30pm to 9:30pm
​Raunds​Wednesday​​6:30pm to 9:30pm
​Rothwell​Wednesday​​6:30pm to 9:30pm
​Rushden​Wednesday​7pm to 10pm
​Thrapston​Wednesday​​6:30pm to 9:30pm
​Towcester​Wednesday​7pm to 9pm
​Wellingborough​Tuesday​​6:30pm to 9:30pm
​Woodford Halse​Tuesday​6:30pm to 9:30pm

Payment for the role

RDS firefighters can respond to a wide range of incidents at any time of the day or night. In return they are paid a retaining fee, along with additional payments for every incident attended and training carried out. You can be paid for being 'on-call' for only part of the day or week, naturally there will be times when you really can't be 'on-call' and in these instances you can book 'off-call'.


RDS firefighters are required to attend a training session one evening during the week for a 2-3 hour period.

To maintain a professional and competent service you will also be required to attend annual requalification courses in the core competencies of a firefighter. These courses would take place over a weekend. 

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