You don’t have to be a pilot to fly in the RAF
I still think this is one of the best recruitment taglines to date. It transposes to the Fire and Rescue Service really well too!
It goes without saying that without firefighters sat on fire engines any FRS would be unable to carry out its core function, but in order to have fully trained firefighters, functioning fire appliances and processed emergency incidents with all the relevant details and location it takes an army of a workforce, all of whom play an equally important role.
Heroes in Headsets
Control operators are very much the ‘unsung heroes’ of the FRS. However, tragic yet well publicised events such as the Grenfell Tower fire have brought the fantastic work of Control Operators to light and their role will hopefully start to become more publicised.
Control operators have to be extremely calm under pressure, able to multi-task and prioritise their workload and incredibly emotionally resilient.
When a member of the public dials 999, hears the question “which service do you require?” and answers with “the fire service”, the local area’s FRS control operator receives the call and immediately starts to gather as much information as possible. Whilst gathering this information from the call taker they are simultaneously inputting it into a computer system and deciding which resources and from where need mobilising to the incident. Their job doesn’t end once the phone call does however. Control operators are the lynchpin in any operational setting. Control operators relay information from the fire ground and accurately record it, they liaise with senior officers, they juggle the logistics of an incident with ensuring an area still has enough fire engines available to meet target response times… and that’s just scratching at the surface!
Some Control Operators are employed directly by their FRS and work under the same terms and conditions as a firefighter, others are employed by private companies who provide a regional service to a number of co-located FRS’s.
A step further back
Before control operators can process emergency calls and mobilise firefighters a FRS needs an entire infrastructure. That includes Human Resources to look after staff and their welfare, a training department to ensure everybody is suitably qualified and refreshed in their role, an IT department responsible for risk critical emergency equipment, community safety and regulatory fire safety departments that drive the vital work the FRS carries out when not attending incidents, a legal team who ensure the organisation is operating within the constraints of the law, a property and estates team whom ensure buildings are usable and fit for purpose…
I could go on and on and on and on…
At the time of writing a quick internet search shows just how varied the current vacancies available within the FRS are:
- Health and Safety Officer
- HR Assistant
- Fleet Support Engineer
- Equipment Technician
- Technical Accountant
- Admin Assistant
It’s important to note too that not all roles are entry level. The FRS often looks for senior, experienced professionals with a depth of working knowledge.
Examples of roles include:
- Senior Internal Digital Officer
- Health and Absence Manager
- Capital and Estates Programme Manager
The Fire and Rescue Service is so much more than fire engines and firefighters. Although their work is invaluable and extremely difficult they remain just one cog in a very well oiled, complex machine. As an employer the FRS provides opportunities spanning a wide range of professions and if you think they’ll have nothing for you – think again.