Applications for Operations Control staff open as Watch Commander speaks about life saving actions
10 August 2020
A fire service Watch Commander has described how she gave advice and reassurance to a man trapped in an Edinburgh house fire as she mobilised firefighters quickly to the scene.
Operations Control staff member Magda Kozlowska received the urgent 999 call from the resident as flames took hold in his city flat, trapping him inside with no means to escape.
Magda, a former English language teacher, provided him with the advice he needed to survive the blaze until firefighters arrived at the scene.
The next day, the man sought out his rescuers at Tollcross Fire Station - and asked them to thank Magda personally for saving his life.
Magda, originally from Zamość in Poland, spoke about her vital role as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service launches a national campaign to recruit Operations Control staff in Edinburgh and its two other control rooms in Johnstone and Dundee.
Applications are now open.
Magda, who joined the service in 2007 in an admin role, said: "That call sticks with me - I still remember his name.
"It was still early in my control room career, but my training came to the fore and I was able to give him the advice he needed to survive the fire and the smoke, while mobilising the appliances and guiding the firefighters to the room he was trapped in.
"The firefighters were the ones who went in with the hoses and the breathing apparatus - but until then I was his lifeline and his only connection to the outside world.
"It's an incredible feeling - especially when someone reaches out to thank you and show their appreciation. Every 999 call has someone's mum or granny or brother or uncle on the end of that phone - and when you can walk away knowing you have made a difference … well, that's amazing."
Magda decided to join Operations Control after getting a glimpse of the highly trained staff in Edinburgh in action on a busy day.
She said: "I was visiting control regularly, but there was one day in particular I came in and it was incredibly busy. Everyone was doing something but it was obvious that everyone had their place, their role, and they were working as a team to meet several 999 emergencies at once.
"I came out of there after seeing that team dynamic and I knew it was where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. Now I've been here 11 years and that feeling hasn't changed - when it's busy and we all work as a team to support each other and use our knowledge, skills and training to get the job done it’s certainly worth it."
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.”
Apply now: https://www.myjobscotland.gov.uk/emergency-services/scottish-fire-and-rescue-service/jobs/firefighter-control-various-locations-193393
Applications will close after 800 applications have been received, or on Tuesday, September 1.