Dundee control operator hangs up headset after 41 years with fire service

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Anne Harvey-Chisholm started her career with the fire service at the age of 18

Control Retiral

Anne receiving her retirement certificate from SFRS Chief Officer Alasdair Hay with control staff colleagues in Dundee looking on

One of Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s longest serving members of control staff has decided to hang up her headset after over 41 years.

Anne Harvey-Chisholm began her career with the fire service at the age of 18 as a Control Operator for the old Angus Area Fire Brigade and has worked through a number of organisational changes since.

She has worked for Tayside Fire Brigade and Tayside Fire and Rescue Service all the way through to her current control room role with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in Dundee. Anne officially retired on Monday (25 May 2015).

Anne received her retirement certificate from SFRS Chief Officer Alasdair Hay and was surrounded by her colleagues from Dundee control.

She said she will undoubtedly miss the job which has been a massive part of her life and she will particularly miss the camaraderie within the control room and the vital work they do to help the public.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the job, but I think 41 years is long enough and it’s time to leave and enjoy my retirement.”

It is the variety of work and the ability to help members of the public which Anne has enjoyed the most.

She said: “I loved the fact that we were able to help people in extraordinary circumstances, whether that was helping a pensioner who had experienced flooding within their home, assisting someone at the scene of a road traffic collision or helping keep people calm who had experienced a fire within their home.

“I am grateful that I have been given the training to be able to reassure people when they need support from the fire service. I will miss the team and the camaraderie. We did take some very distressing calls, but what helped was the great team work and support for each other. I will miss that.”

Dundee native Anne has been a volunteer member of the British Red Cross’s Fire Emergency Support Service (FESS), which provides humanitarian support in the aftermath of fires in Dundee and she plans to continue that work after her retirement.

Anne has many memories of her time with the fire service and she recalled some of incidents she has been involved in.

“We used to have the jute warehouses in Dundee and we regularly got calls to deal with fires there. Often they were very large fires due to the flammable content within the warehouses.

“I also remember being on duty the day the Invergowrie train disaster in 1979. I was on duty during the Global Artic fire in 1998, the Logie Street fire the following year and during a major road traffic collision on the A977 at Drum Crossroads, Crook of Devon involving a petrol tanker and lorry. There were six pumps and special appliances involved in that incident in 2003. It has been a very busy job, but very rewarding at the same time.”

Anne now plans to go on holiday with her family and enjoy her well-earned retirement.