FIRE CONTROL OPERATOR RECRUITMENT

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.

Introduction

Requirements

To become a Staffordshire and West Midlands Fire Control Operator  you must:

 be at least 18 years old at the time you apply

  • Excellent keyboard skills (applicants will be tested for speed, accuracy and literacy)
  • Experience of working in high-pressure, customer service environments
  • Evidence of using multi-functioning computer systems
  • Be a confident individual with excellent decision-making skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Be able to work in a highly procedural and ordered working environment.

We’re actively encouraging applications from men and from members of the West Midlands’ black, Asian and ethnic minority communities. These groups are under-represented in our control room, and it’s important to us that our workforce reflects the diversity of our communities as much as possible. But the process is, of course, open to all.

For more details about recruitment, please take a look at our recruitment pages, or contact our Diversity, Inclusion, Cohesion and Equality Team by e-mailing opportunities@wmfs.net

What’s involved?

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.

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 
  • 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

Is it for me?

We asked our operators what they liked, didn’t like and found most challenging about their role.
No-one knows their role better, so listen to what they have to say to see if it’s a job for you!

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.

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
  • A 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 change of shift and also Staffordshire retained staffing every 30 minutes
  • Undertaking prevention-based activities, including booking Safe and Well visits for members of the West Midlands community.

Training and development

Being a fire control operator involves a lot of training. In fact, training never really finishes.

Matt BettanyFire Control Operator

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 crew in Fire Control. We do our best to match you with a crew 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.

Once you have started in Fire Control, you’ll develop the skills you’ve gained throughout your seven-week training course, working under the supervision of a mentor for a 30-shift period, following an assessment. If successful, you will be free to work independently, although you will be closely monitored by a supervisor. A continuous period of learning, development and assessments will continue on the watch for a period of approximately one year, although your personal development will continue throughout your time in the role.

Recruitment Process

Assessment Day

The assessment day will consist of the following activities:

  • Audio typing test – this will test your typing speed and accuracy
  • Information retention and recall – this will test your ability to retain and accurately recall information
  • Group discussion – this will be one or more questions designed to assess your ability to interact with groups of people
  • Role play – this will be an acted-out scene, where your reactions and responses to a simulated call or situation will be assessed
  • Formal interview – you will be asked questions relating to the skills, knowledge and behaviours required of a Fire Control Operator.

Application Forms

The initial part of the recruitment process is a written application

We are currently not accepting applications for Fire Control Operators at this time.

Application Forms

The initial part of the recruitment process is a written application. Please complete the below application forms, using the behavioural framework as your guide for part 2 of your application. Once completed, please email your 2 application forms to recruitment@wmfs.net.

Applications must be received by 12 noon on 21 October 2018.

Application Form Part 1 – Personal Details
Application Form Part 2 – Application Questions
Behavioural Framework – Use this guide to aid your application question answers.

Successful applicants will be invited to an assessment day, on either 7 or 8 November 2018. Attendance is a mandatory part of your application.

It is important to note that this role is temporary, for at least 12 months, with the potential to be made permanent following the initial year.

Recruitment Process Continued

Training course

If you are successful in your application and assessment days, you will be invited to enrol with Pertemps who will be your formal employer while you are working with us. The opportunity to join the Fire Control team permanently may be available in the future, subject to our needs and your personal development and performance.

The training course consists of practical and theory learning across eight weeks (subject to extension). Commitment to home study outside of your training hours should be expected, due to the volume of material and learning needed. You should be prepared to commit personal time during evenings and weekends as required during your training. There will be regular exams during training and 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.

If you are successful in your training, you will be placed on a watch in Fire Control. You will be paired with a mentor who will sit with and guide/support you for your first 30 shifts. Subject to an exam and your mentor’s assessment of your performance at the end of these 30 shifts, you will be then deemed able to work independently of your mentor, with the support of your line manager and crew members.

There is a continuous period of study and training for at least 1 year following your placement on a watch, but your mentor will continue to support you during this period.

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

A pension is available through Pertemps, which you are automatically enrolled into on joining. There is a local government pension scheme for West Midlands Fire Service staff, which you would be eligible for should your contract be made permanent.

Salary

Salaries for the role are as follows:
£21793 per annum whilst a trainee
£22669 per annum once successfully placed on a watch but still in development
£29006 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.

A ‘Sports and Welfare’ scheme is available which for a small membership fee allows members great discounts on goods and services at many well-known retailers, online stores and attractions.

Our headquarters site also benefits from a free-to-use gym which, following induction, is available to all staff.

Equality and diversity

We recognise that many people experience inequality in society and the workplace. Therefore, we try to lead by example, taking individual and organisational steps to challenge prejudice and remove discrimination, and actively promoting a working environment which is conducive to good working relationships and which will ultimately benefit the communities we serve.

West Midlands Fire Service will not discriminate on any grounds that cannot be justified, including disability, marital status, gender or gender reassignment, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, maternity/paternity, race or trade union membership.

We will also ensure that appropriate resources and training will be allocated to ensure that managers and staff are aware of their professional and personal responsibilities to each other and to the public they serve.

Our commitment to the ‘Public Sector Duties’ under the Equality Act 2010 and our own Core Values underpin all decisions we take and all actions of our employees in all areas of work including recruitment, employment and service delivery.

All employees are bound by our Core Values, Code of Conduct and Dignity at Work policy.

We encourage employees to recognise that equality is not about treating everybody the same, but recognising we are all individuals and unique in our own way. Equality and fairness is about recognising, accepting and valuing people’s unique individuality according to their needs. This often means that individuals may be treated differently, yet fairly, based on their needs.

For our full diversity policy and details on how we use positive action in our service, see our documents section for details.