The Personal Qualities and Attributes – PQAs
The following is the person specification which a trainee firefighter will have to meet to gain entry into the Fire and Rescue Service. There are certain stages within the process, where you will need to demonstrate these abilities; these are listed in the lists below.
The National Point of Entry selection procedure asks potential recruits to complete a detailed application form, which will be assessed against National Personal Qualities and Attributes (PQA).
If you want to move to a new role or indeed join the Fire Service, it would be unreasonable to expect you to know everything about that new job or role in advance. Instead, your personal qualities and attributes can be measured to see if you have the potential to carry out the new role. These PQAs cover your ability to work with others, to act appropriately in conflict situations, to be part of a team and to communicate effectively. Because they measure your behaviour, they are also known as Behavioural Indicators.
This measurement of your potential is normally carried out at an Assessment Development Centre (ADC) or in the case of new recruits, at training centres and interviews during the selection procedure.
Commitment to Diversity and Integrity – understands and respects diversity and adopts a fair and ethical approach in all situations.
- Is concerned to treat people fairly and ethically (e.g. completes work according to same high standards regardless of individual differences).
- Recognises the importance of an awareness of the community and understands its needs (e.g. is aware and respectful of differing cultures and backgrounds).
- Recognises and has respect for others’ backgrounds, views, values and beliefs (including religious beliefs).
- Maintains an open approach with others, taking account of, and accepting, individual differences such as age, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, social background, disability, sexual orientation and physical appearance.
- Is committed to the Fire and Rescue Service values and actively promotes them (e.g. challenges inappropriate behaviour).
- Is honest when working with others and accepts accountability for own actions (e.g. takes responsibility for own mistakes; respects the need for confidentiality (is trusted to enter others’ homes).
- Proactively challenges unacceptable behaviour inconsistent with Fire and Rescue Service values, stating own and organisation’s position clearly (e.g. when over-hearing a colleague use inappropriate language).
Openness to Change – is open to change and actively seeks to support it.
- Demonstrates an understanding of the need for change within the Fire and Rescue Service (e.g. explains the reasons for new working practices to colleagues absent from briefings).
- Aware of the impact of changes to the Fire and Rescue Service on their role (e.g. understands changes to working practices).
- Accepts change both within the Fire and Rescue Service and in their own role (e.g. willingly participates in Community Fire Safety activities).
- Identifies ways, both within the Fire and Rescue Service and the local community, of supporting change and takes action where possible (e.g. volunteers to learn new tasks or ways of working).
Confidence and Resilience – maintains a confident and resilient attitude in highly challenging situations.
- Remains in control of own emotions during emergency situations (e.g. does not panic and considers risk).
- Concentrates on the task despite pressure (e.g. pressure of time, noise, conflicting information and tasks, and concern for casualties).
- Challenges or questions others constructively to achieve more effective outcomes.
- Retains confidence in own ability or convictions despite setbacks (e.g. after a Community Fire Safety talk is received poorly).
Working with Others – works effectively with others both within the Fire and Rescue Service and in the community.
- Works effectively with all team-members according to defined role (e.g. in teams of 2 and up to teams of 20), adjusting his/her role in accordance with instructions and changing circumstances.
- Proactively generates positive working relationships both internally (e.g. attempts to get to know everyone in working environment) and externally (e.g. liaises with community groups to promote fire safety; works well with other emergency services).
- Concerned about the wider team and is aware of shared objectives, as well as those of his/her immediate work-team (e.g. willing to give Community Fire Safety talks at schools).
- Is sensitive to the feelings and well-being of others and takes action to support them (e.g. able to reassure and calm members of the public in emergency situations; reminds colleague to check air when using breathing apparatus).
- Is able to present an approachable and positive image of self and the Fire and Rescue Service to everybody in the community, irrespective of individual differences (e.g. age, ethnicity, gender).
Effective Communication – communicates effectively both orally and in writing.
- Communicates verbal messages clearly, concisely and at a level appropriate to the audience so that message is understood regardless of individual differences.
- Is sensitive to the needs of the audience and tailors communication in response to feedback (e.g. able to convey the importance of fire safety without distressing members of the public unnecessarily).
- Demonstrates that they are listening to others to convey interest (e.g. by nodding and using other appropriate body language, or by asking questions) and maintains awareness for messages.
- Checks understanding to ensure all messages received and sent are understood correctly.
- Is comfortable communicating with both small (e.g. 2 people) and large groups (e.g. up to 30 people).
- Presents messages (e.g. fire safety information) in a way that promotes understanding (e.g. uses slides, videos and other visual aids appropriately during presentations and fire safety visits; engages with the audience).
- Able to write clear, basic and appropriate information or messages that are understood by the recipient (e.g. to complete standard Fire and Rescue Service forms and to use the BA operation entry board).
Commitment to Development – committed to and able to develop self and others.
- Proactively reviews own performance using a variety of sources including seeking feedback from others.
- Identifies development needs in own knowledge, skills and understanding and takes action to improve (e.g. seeks to identify and learn new methods from colleagues; recognise that own fitness levels need to be improved).
- Learns from a wide range of situations experienced by self or others (e.g. increases understanding about a community group following a safety discussion).
- Able to learn a large amount of job relevant information delivered both verbally and in writing, as part of initial training course and other development (e.g. operating procedures and standards).
- Actively encourages and supports others to improve their proficiency (e.g. updates colleagues concerning new information; shares own experiences).
Problem Solving – understands, recalls, applies and adapts relevant information in an organised, safe and systematic way.
- Able to recall and apply correct, relevant job related information and procedures during incidents (e.g. training procedures for ladder erection).
- Able to adapt and apply standard or existing procedures and practices and personal skills to take account of a changing environment and to minimise risk.
- Generates more than one solution to a problem and evaluates which one is best (e.g. in deciding how best to promote community fire safety).
- Considers immediate and wider objectives and implications (e.g. health and safety) to plan ahead to complete tasks in most efficient and safe way.
- Prioritises, plans and completes tasks in a logical and systematic manner despite conflicting information (e.g. able to manage own actions during emergency situations).
- Able to interpret basic numerical information (e.g. in dials, tables, charts) and use basic arithmetical calculations correctly (i.e. addition, subtraction, division and multiplication) to apply task procedures (e.g. able to work out operation times when using BA equipment).
Situational Awareness – maintains an active awareness of the environment to promote safe and effective working.
- Constantly checks the environment and takes action to ensure safe working (e.g. looks for threats to safety of self and others).
- Has awareness of a range of safety related information without becoming unduly focused on any one piece of information.
- Provides timely information to confirm progress and outcomes against objectives (e.g. keeps team informed at incidents of changing circumstances).
- Able to judge space and distance within three dimensions and time to perform tasks safely and effectively (e.g. able to judge space and distance to erect ladders.)
Commitment to Excellence – Adopts a conscientious and proactive approach to work to achieve and maintain excellent standards.
- Continually looks to improve standards of working and offers suggestions as necessary (e.g. provides feedback concerning new or existing work practices to influence change or improve service delivery).
- Approaches work proactively and efficiently both with routine tasks and during incidents.
- Adopts a conscientious approach to work (e.g. checks work to ensure all tasks completed correctly and with due attention to detail; maintains levels of personal fitness).
- Completes work according to correct procedures (e.g. refrains from taking unsafe short-cuts).
- Completes work as instructed without being checked constantly.
- Is clear about the role of the firefighter and operates within agreed levels of authority, within a disciplined environment (e.g. does not take action outside own level of control without seeking confirmation).