Our fire control team are a vital part of our service, providing the first point of contact, incident command services and more to our firefighters.
Could you be a fire control operator?
The official job title for our operators who work in fire control is Firefighter (Control).
Their work is every bit as vital as that carried out by firefighters on fire engines.
They take emergency calls, diffuse stressful situations, mobilise resources and equipment, and manage our vehicles and officers.
They liaise with firefighters who are at the scene of emergencies, record important details on our computerised incident logs recording, and work closely with the public and businesses on protection and prevention work.
A Fire Control Operator is the first point of contact for a member of the public calling 999 to alert the fire service to an emergency.
Here at Staffordshire and West Midlands Fire Control, the types of incidents we deal with can be many and varied – from fires to road traffic collisions, major industrial incidents and other significant threats to life and property. This is why we need our operators to be professional, highly-skilled and dedicated to the service they provide.
To become a Staffordshire and West Midlands Fire Control Operator you must:
be at least 18-year-old at the time you apply
have excellent keyboard skills
have excellent communication skills
be a confident individual.
The ideal Control Operator will be:
literate and numerate
attentive to detail with the ability to receive and record information accurately
an excellent communicator with the ability to listen, reassure and explain situations clearly
able to remain calm under pressure and provide guidance in stressful situations
able to work as part of a wide-reaching team across a number of organisations working towards a set of combined aims, objectives and goals
skilled in ICT work and familiar with a variety of software applications including Microsoft Office 365
able to work a 24/7 roster pattern including, night shifts and Bank Holidays
be a real team player
positive in their approach, dedicated and willing to learn at all times.
The role of a fire control operator
Staffordshire and West Midlands Fire Control covers an area which includes not only large cities, airports and industrial areas, but major transport networks, rural villages, rivers, lakes, waterways and sites of significant heritage. We need to be prepared and capable of handling emergencies of any scale.
Fire Control Operators work on behalf of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue and West Midlands Fire Service to support the activities and safety of their firefighters. They ensure that an emergency fire response is maintained and accessible to members of the public at all times, regardless of the demand or scale of ongoing incidents. Fire Control is strategically managed to ensure that all incidents can be dealt with effectively and efficiently, concentrating resources where they’re most required.
Our control room operators use sophisticated, state-of-the-art information technology to help them facilitate the quickest response to incidents. Mobile data technology allows us to communicate remotely with fire crews and commanders who are on their way to an incident. to help them make tactical decisions. Fire crews use the same technology to communicate back to fire control, to pass information and request additional assistance. They use 999eye technology to receive footage and images from callers so they can see exactly what’s happening and make a decision on the right number and type of fire appliances to mobilise.
Here's just some of the day to day tasks the role involves
Handling emergency and administrative calls
obtaining clear and accurate details of incident locations and mobilising the correct resources
passing calls to other Authorities, obtaining assistance from, or providing assistance to, other Brigades
informing the appropriate Officers of incidents requiring their attention
updating incident logs with all messages
knowledge of specialist equipment and resource requirements for each incident type
monitoring and maintaining the availability of fire cover within both Counties
liaison with crews at incidents to ensure that they have the required resources
updating of social media sites, eg Twitter.
Co-ordinating incidents requiring a multi-agency or emergency service response
keeping people calm and giving lifesaving fire survival guidance to trapped callers within high-pressure situations
maintaining comprehensive and accurate records of appliances, equipment and officer availability within Staffordshire and West Midlands
staffing of resources within Staffordshire and West Midlands at the change of shift and also Staffordshire on-call staffing every 30 minutes
undertaking prevention-based activities, including booking Safe and Well visits for members of the West Midlands community.
Training and development
The course is intensive, requiring dedication and commitment. Studying in your own time, at night and at weekends, must be expected. Your progress will be continually monitored and assessed, both practically and theoretically. You will be fully supported during your training, however, there is a minimum standard that you will need to achieve. If sufficient progress is not made during your training we may not be able to continue your employment with us.
On successful completion of your initial training course, you’ll be posted to a watch in Fire Control. We do our best to match you with a watch that complements your learning styles and personality.
Our Fire Control is on Vauxhall Road, Nechells, Birmingham at West Midlands Fire Service Headquarters. The ability to travel to our command and development centre on Dartmouth Road, Smethwick for some or all of the course will be required.
After you are successful at your assessment day, your development will cover the following stages:
Stage 1 – Initial Training Course. Stage 2 – Allocation to watch, working under the supervision of a mentor, and working towards successful completion of an assessment. Stage 3 – Personal Development Programme, with continual development and assessments for a period of approximately one year.
Salary and benefits
There are many benefits to working for West Midlands Fire Service – job satisfaction and an extensive career structure, just for starters.
We also offer real promotion prospects. To progress, you’ll need to develop your skills and demonstrate a level of competency within your current role, before taking part in an assessment centre and interview process to determine your suitability for the next role.
Any skills gained from qualifications or experience you bring into the service may be relevant when you’re working towards a promotion or looking to move into a specialised role.
Annual leave A fire control operator has 22 days’ annual leave a year, plus 8 Bank Holidays.
Pension There is a local government pension scheme for West Midlands Fire Service staff, which you would be eligible for, if successful in the process.
Salary Salaries for the role are as follows:
£22,981 per annum whilst a trainee £23,938 per annum once successfully placed on a watch but still in development £30,632 per annum once deemed fully competent (this typically is after a minimum 3 years service and subject to being employed fully by West Midlands Fire Service)
Occupational health The physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of all of our staff is paramount, so we can provide an excellent emergency service to our communities.
Our occupational health team offers a friendly, confidential service for all employees. We have qualified occupational health practitioners, a fitness adviser and qualified administrators who all work in the health and wellbeing area. They promote and maintain good physical and mental health, and can provide periodic health reviews, fitness and welfare advice and confidential counselling. Services include employee discount schemes, physiotherapy, pre-retirement courses, critical incident debriefing and access to the facilities of The Fire Fighters Charity.
Our headquarters site also benefits from a free-to-use gym which, following induction, is available to all staff.
How to apply
We are not currently recruiting for Firefighter (Control) candidates. But check back regularly as details on how to apply will be shared when we next recruit. We also recommend following @WestMidsFire on Twitter as we post about upcoming recruitment when it's live.
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