Control Operators handle emergency 999 calls ensuring that crews, officers, fire engines and equipment are dispatched to where they are needed, as quickly as possible. They need to be effective, confident communicators, remaining calm under pressure. These skills are particularly important when trying to extract vital information from callers about the severity of incidents and where they are in the area, then communicating this information to firefighters.
Control operators stay on the phone, assessing the risks posed to the caller and giving fire survival advice in what can be very stressful, life-threatening situations. They also perform a vital role, communicating between crews attending incidents and other emergency services and authorities who need to attend – such as the Environment Agency, if for example, chemicals are involved that can post a threat to people, property or the environment.
They are encouraged to identify possible malicious false alarm calls which are not just a nuisance, they can be life-threatening as those crews attending a false alarm will be unavailable should a genuine incident occur at the same time.
Being able to communicate to people in a diverse community is a valuable skill in this role, given the different cultures and languages in the Humberside area.