Becoming a Firefighter Control
The role of Firefighter Control is exciting, dynamic and rewarding.
The working environment within Operations Control (OC) involves processing a number of calls, large scale mobilising of resources, radio communications, working with emergency service partners and other organisations and supporting the organisational structure of emergency incidents.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has three Operations Control sites in Scotland – Dundee (North), Edinburgh (East) and Johnstone (West).
A Firefighter Control is the first point of contact for a member of the public when dialling 999 to report an emergency. This involves fires, water rescue, animal rescue, road traffic collisions, rescue from height/depth and assisting emergency service partners.
The structure of Operations Control is:
- Firefighter Control
- Crew Commander Control
- Watch Commander Control
- Station Commander Control
- Group Commander Control
- Area Commander Control
Role of a Firefighter Control
The Firefighter Control role is diverse and includes many responsibilities, such as:
- Handling emergency calls;
- Obtaining details of the incident location, mobilising the correct resources and updating operational personnel;
- Updating incident logs with all messages;
- Keeping people calm and giving lifesaving guidance to trapped callers within high-pressure situations.
Operations Control ensure that all incidents can be dealt with effectively and efficiently, concentrating resources where they’re most required.
Who We’re Looking For
To become a Firefighter Control you must be at least 18 years old at the time you apply and have the following essential skills.
- Good analytical skills and keyboard experience;
- Ability to communicate effectively with people;
- Ability to work under pressure;
- Ability to receive, record and manage data accurately;
- Experience in dealing with members of the public;
- Ability to demonstrate commitment to learning;
- Educated to National 4 English, or equivalent;
- Ability to work rotating shifts, which include nights, Bank Holidays and weekends.
Training and Development
The Firefighter Control training course is a fourteen-week programme, which includes theory and practical elements.
Progress is continuously monitored by an instructor throughout the course using a series of written and practical tests to confirm knowledge and understanding. On successful completion of the initial training course, you will join your assigned Watch. The Crew and Watch Commanders are provided with a full report by instructors and will continue to support and develop you whilst on Watch.
As a newly trained Firefighter Control, you will have an experienced Firefighter Control sitting with you, to ensure you are supported and supervised during the stage of basic skills development. When your confidence has built on watch, you will be counted towards crewing figures as a Firefighter Control and will continue on your development pathway to achieve competence in your role.
The pathway to competency duration is 36 months and consists of assessments at 12, 24 and 36 months. This is a continuous period of development with support and mentoring from Crew and Watch Commanders, the Training instructors and fellow Watch personnel.
Upon successful completion of your 36-month assessment you will become a competent member of the Watch and will no longer need to sit regular assessments.
However, personal development will continue throughout a Firefighter Controls career. There will be exciting opportunities to progress through the ranks, experiencing different roles in Operations Control.
Salary and Benefits
There are many benefits available to staff who work for Scotland’s fire and rescue service.
Promotion and progression
SFRS offers a number of promotion and progression opportunities.
Firefighters Control staff have 30 days’ leave allowance per year. After five years employment as a Firefighter Control you will be entitled to three extra days' leave.
Salaries for the Firefighter Control role are as follow (as of July 2021):
- Trainee Rate: £22,981
- Development Rate: £23,938
- Competent Rate: £30,632