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IFE Membership


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So, I've done my competency, apprenticeship completed (waiting for the certificate in a cereal box) and the level 1 incident commanders course at FSC and now finding myself at a loose end on station with something to keep me occupied long term. I've got a transfer in which, should I get it, will open up new courses and skills to keep me occupied for a while.

In the meantime I'm looking at IFE Membership.


  • Is it worth getting?
  • Is it worth getting at a FF level?
  • Is it worth getting in the LFB specifically?

Just curious as I often see people talking about doing IFE exams on here but, no offence intended, a lot of those experiences were 20ish years ago. Is the IFE as relevant nowadays given I hear nothing really about it around my peers here in London. I know my dad did them 30 odd years ago but I believe that was when you could do the exams as an alternative to promotion exams?

Thanks in advance!

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Im an IFE examiner and a big advocate of theirs.  When the old promotion exams went it left a void and the current IFE exams provide the underpinning knowledge required of the various ranks.  Some brigades require candidates to have various IFE exams to be considered for promotion so my advice to anyone is to take them. 

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It's also worth adding that IFE qualifications have value outside the fire service in the real world.

Its fair say, few people join the fire service and not expect to see it through to retirement, but none of us know what is around the corner. So to tuck have an IFE award or other qualification that is legals tender outside, is a good insurance policy. 

Despite IMHO there being better was to prove competence, many employers ask for IFE which apparently have value even if they are many years old and not maintained with CPD. So its not a bad thing to do

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Im a member of the IFE and have taken all the exams upto Members, or Certificate as its now called. 

In GMFRS you have to have them if you want promotion. If you wanted a WM job, then you needed your 4 Graduates Papers. If you wanted SM and above you had to have your 4 Members Papers. They have relaxed the 4 papers down to a couple now, but you still need them to get promoted. 

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I’ve got my grads, or whatever that’s called now. I did the old FSE back in the day, and the IFE exams are similar. Although there is not a practical element which there was with FSEB. They certainly have their place however for you Rory perhaps they have limited relevance, depending on your future plans. Some FRS do use them for promotion purposes, IFE exams offer a very generic knowledge base for candidates to show competence, but that not necessarily relevant to any brigade. 

In LFB you will be required to pass an examination and practical drills for your promotion exams for each rank.  These will be relevant to national standards but based on contemporary policy and procedures in LFB. Any amount of IFE papers will not help 😊

so your 3 questions I’d answer 

  1. Yes, kinda....
  2. If you’re going to do it, do them all early, yes 
  3. Answer no 
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I've got the basic Level 2, I'm not in the job (yet 😛) but I found it really helped understanding different procedures and things I would've never really considered. Things like the construction of rope and line through to fire detection and warning systems. Drop me a pm if you want to look at any chapters, I help mentor some Level 2 candidates 👍🏼 

However I've also found many brigades don't seem that interested in it at recruitment however I can't speak for the promotion side 

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I have completed every exam from the Level 2 Certificate up to the Level 4 Members. Currently my Service (Kent) have them as a desirable for promotion and in the future I can see them being essential, so it's worth getting ahead of the game. 

KFRS are really supporting the drive to get everyone recognised through the IFE and will pay for your exam fees once completed. 

My advice is to go for it. Start at whatever level you feel comfortable with as it all builds on the previous level. If nothing else it demonstrates a commitment to developing yourself and putting yourself out. And as Messy says, they are also recognised in the outside world, which may be of benefit one day.


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  • 1 month later...

LFB will cover the cost of study materials and exam fees if you make a sponsorship application. It opens up once a year but worth doing if you’re doing your IFEs.

While it might not count in terms of credit for promotion in LFB, all our promotional processes now centre around the LFB Behaviours framework, which contains things like professionalism, being forward looking and being proactive, all of which you’re demonstrating with this.

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16 hours ago, Harve88 said:

Has anyone had their service cover the cost for taking the exams ? 

Our service is an affiliate ife member for all ops personel  so  exam costs are covered

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  • 2 years later...

Good luck! I'm sitting my L4 science paper this Thursday, feels like I've been studying forever! A few of us set up a study group, which has really helped, and I intend to keep that going for the next round of exams. If you're interested then feel free to reply/message me on here, I'm in London too.

Edited by Carl
Quote removed as its a direct quote of the previous post. Please see FAQ.
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Cheers, I'm sitting L3 Ops and L3 FI exams at FSC. I would have been interested but have since left LFB and now in WMFS, but cheers

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Having now been in for over 17 & half years (where has the time gone) I am biting the bullet and going to start the IFE exams. My FRS as far as I'm aware, do not offer any help with the IFE (I will be checking when back on duty though). 

The exams I had to sit for CM promotion back in 2012 were "all Wales" exams written by the three FRS. So I didn't get any formal qualifications for them but I do remember them being very in depth at the time. Seems like the IFE would be a good thing for my FRS to adopt?

I am also keeping an eye on maybe transferring back to the NW and from what I've read so far, GMFRS are keen for CM/WM to have IFE qualifications. So it won't hurt and it'll be good to get the grey matter working again.

Edited by Cass
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Sitting 4 exams this week, level 3 ops, science, safety and management 😬 

@Messyshaw The criteria for promotion in my brigade is as follows;

  • FF to CM: IFE Level 3 ops, science, safety and management 
  • CM to WM: IFE Level 3 certificate in leadership and managements, level 3 certificate in fire service operations and command 
  • WM to SM: IFE level 4 certificate in leadership and management, IFE Level 4 certificate in fire service operations and command 

I’m aware not all brigades have these as essential criteria however they’ve been around here for a while now and definitely not going anywhere as they’re a key part of our migration system from RDS to WDS.

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@StandPipe many thanks

So in many ways, they have replaced the old formal FSEB (Fire Service Examination Board) promotion exams?

That's a pity as when I did my IFE, I found the FSEB papers much more relevant to my role than the IFE ones. Mind you that would be 43 years ago, so I hope the IFE have modernised their exam now 😉

I am intrigued by the last bit of your reply. Are you saying RDS staff need an IFE qualification to change to Wholesome? If so, do recruits as they pass through training school ?

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I can only speak for my brigade but firefighters don’t need any IFE’s, any FFs wishing to progress need to take their IFEs and if successful, they are eligible to sit the promotion board and again is successful, will be offered a wholetime substantive CM position (this applies to WT and RDS FFs, exact same process). 

And I’d love to say they’re relevant, however I’m currently revising Pythagoras’ theorem and struggling to see when I’ll ever need to use it as a crew manager 🤯

Apologies @Messyshaw just read your comment again, our migration system only works on promotion, so as it stands you can’t transfer from RDS FF to WDS FF, it would have to be RDS FF to WDS CM etc.

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