Emergency services

General

The image the media often portrays of the emergency services can be very negative. According to them, the police just want to make money from speed cameras and all prisons are luxuriant stop-houses for repeat offenders. Because of this, the morale of some employees within the emergency services is said to be low. This could be to do with the negative stories but also perhaps with the changing working conditions (such as more paperwork for the police).

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What does the Emergency Services involve?

This area includes and fire service, the police force and the ambulance service. These sectors are public, not out to make a profit; their sole aim is to provide direct and swift response and assistance to people like you and me.

By joining the Emergency Services you could be involved in this direct response to the problems of real people, and you may even be required to put you life on the line to help. Firefighters, policemen and paramedics face difficult challenges on a daily basis, tackling situations and people that many people wouldn't be able to deal with.

Why should I apply for a career in the Emergency Services?

There are all sorts of reasons a career in the emergency services would suit you. If you like to be challenged, physically and mentally on a daily basis then a career in this sector can certainly provide those sorts of opportunities. Above all, there is a massive opportunity in this line of work to have an impact and really make a difference to the lives of those in the community, and for those people who would gain personal satisfaction from this, then this sector can provide for a hugely rewarding career path.

Training and Applicants

Academic qualifications are not usually required (although you will often have to do written and practical tests). Voluntary work experience in the community, such as with the elderly or with children, is useful for most areas. Applicants should generally have excellent communication skills as roles generally include a high face-to-face work load, and must be good team players, as these services work as a unit, not as individuals. Calmness under pressure and the ability to make split-second decisions will also, for some roles, be an important attribute. For the more active roles, such as police officers and firefighters, physical fitness is likely to be tested and you will therefore need to be a healthy and active person.

What opportunities are available within the sector?

Opportunities are available in all sectors, although some areas - such as the fire service - are really competitive. The police have advertising campaigns every now and then but they are unlikely to want to recruit in huge numbers for a while because instead they are recruiting more community support officers (to tackle anti-social behaviour). As well as the ’active’ jobs, some opportunities exist for office staff.

Further Information

The increased fear about the possibility of major disasters as a result of terrorism could have an impact on the work of the police and fire service. Increasing interest in human rights and the need for data protection could also have an impact on some sectors.

Case Studies

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