SFRS launches Control Room Firefighter recruitment drive

Publish Date:

By Sean Rooney

Marc Benedictus In Dundee Operations Control

A FIRE service Watch Commander revealed how his training helped save the life of someone trapped inside a burning car, as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service launches a new recruitment drive.

Operations Control staff member Marc Benedictus received the urgent 999 call following a road traffic collision near Perth and immediately mobilised firefighters and the correct resources to the scene.

He drew upon his skills and experience to ensure that the person was rescued and no one else was hurt.

Marc spoke about his vital role as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service launches the national campaign to recruit Operations Control staff based across the service’s three control rooms in Johnstone, Dundee and Edinburgh.

The recruitment drive opens on Monday, August 10.

Marc, a Watch Commander based at Dundee Operations Control, said: “Some calls absolutely stick with you – and this one was particularly challenging.

“Someone was trapped in the burning car after a bad collision and we had received a number of 999 calls, and all of them were from people who were naturally panicking or asking for advice.”

He added: “We have to balance giving advice to the caller while getting as much information as possible to enable us to quickly mobilise the correct resources for the emergency from the right location.

“It can be very intense but those crews arrived very quickly and were able to rescue that person from the burning car and no other person was hurt. It was very rewarding to be able to draw upon my training and experience to help others.

“That’s why I don’t think there’s any other job like it – this is different to a call centre job, and no one should come in thinking that. This is a career full of opportunities, teamwork, challenges, and even new qualifications.

“It is mentally challenging role, with a lot of training – but the reward is most certainly worth it.”

From Monday, SFRS will be accepting 800 applications for permanent roles at all three operations control rooms.

Successful applicants will join fellow Operations Control staff during a 14 week training period - learning how to co-ordinate emergency fire and rescue response to everything from house fires and road traffic collisions, to major incidents and severe weather related flooding.

Trainees will also learn how to give potentially life-saving advice, providing fire survival guidance to people who are trapped by smoke or fire.

And Marc says it is these calls that can be the most challenging of all.

He said: “These calls can be difficult – you are on the line to someone who is in a life-threatening situation and you are their lifeline.

“It’s important to stay calm for them, give strong and direct instructions and survival advice, while working with your team to mobilise resources and direct local firefighters to the exact location of the person who is trapped.

“The relief you feel when you hear the sirens in the background or the firefighters entering the room is incredible.”

Following the 14-week initial training course, Operations Control staff continue to train daily to hone their skills and experience and ensure they are ready to respond to as many eventualities as possible to protect communities.

Area Commander Libby Logan is the head of Operations Control across Scotland.

She said: “We need motivated individuals who are serious about serving and protecting Scotland’s communities.

“If you think you are suited to the role, then our fantastic training team will support you every step of the way.

“Our Operations Control rooms are tight-knit teams, who work with local firefighters to respond to emergency calls across Scotland.

“A willingness to learn, a strong team ethic, the ability to stay calm under pressure while handling numerous tasks and a real ability to motivate others and form relationships are all essential attributes – we want the best of the best to take up these roles on Scotland’s unseen frontline.”

Register for job alerts now, and apply for the role once it is live on Monday, August 10 on MyJobScotland:

Applications will close after 800 applications have been received, or on Tuesday, September 1.