The primary function of a Fire Control Operator is to act as a link between the public and operational firefighters on the 50 fire stations throughout the county, together with the various senior officers and sections within the service.
This involves the reception of 999 calls, direct contact with other emergency services and agencies, the use of the Airwave Radio System and the use of Vision, a computer-aided mobilisation system, to the fire stations throughout the counties of Dorset and Wiltshire.
In a service that frequently involves a life and death situation, there is obviously a need for constant monitoring and updating of systems and information. This falls within the ambit of the Fire Control Operator in the form of daily testing of communication equipment, identifying faults and informing appropriate officers and other agencies and the constant updating of the various databases used within the control room environment.
Similarly, the life and death situations mean that the person making the emergency call is frequently in a distressed state and it often means that the Fire Control Operator must remain calm and show sympathy, tact and understanding to obtain the essential information that the service needs to attend the incident.
The Control team is split into four Watches, (red, blue, green, and white) and cover is required 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, achieved by four watches on a rotating shift pattern averaging 42 hours per week. This is covered by staff working two consecutive days 0800-1800, followed by two consecutive nights 1800-0800, and four days off. This includes weekends and bank holidays.
All Operators are trained to a very high standard and will be required to complete an intensive initial training course before joining a watch.
This Rolemap outlines the varied responsibilities and duties expected of a Firefighter (Control) within their role.