The Role of a Control Room Operator

A Fire Control Room Operator (CRO) is the first line of communication for a member of the public calling to raise a 999 emergency alarm to the Fire and Rescue Service. Here in the North West the types of incident that are now being dealt with can be many and varied and range from small fires to road traffic collisions and major industrial fires presenting significant threats to life and property.  That is why North West Fire Control demands that our Operators are professional, highly skilled and dedicated to the service they provide.

The role of a Control Room Operator is not just about taking 999 calls. Control Room Operators must think clearly and calmly in extreme and sometimes distressing circumstances to identify exactly what a situation requires and be able to work as part of a committed team to assist in saving lives.

At North West Fire Control we cover an area which includes not only large cities, airports and industrial areas, but also tourist centres, some of which have extensive coastlines, major public transport networks, rural villages, rivers, lakes, waterways and sites of significant heritage, therefore we must be prepared and capable to handle every emergency of any scale affecting any of these aspects of the North West’s infrastructure.

North West Fire Control Room Operators are required to work on behalf of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services to support the activities and safety of their firefighters ensuring that sufficient strategic fire cover is maintained and accessible to members of the public at all times across the four Counties regardless of the demand or scale of ongoing incidents. North West Fire Control is strategically managed to ensure that all incidents can be dealt with effectively and efficiently using a variety of approaches to concentrate resources where they are most required and this applies both in the Control Room itself as well as on the incident ground.

Our Control Room Operators use sophisticated, state-of-the-art information technology when dealing with all emergencies to assist in providing rapid identification of the caller’s location and facilitating the quickest response by the Fire and Rescue Services regardless of their County boundaries.  Data technology allows us to communicate remotely with responding fire crews and will pass information to firefighters in charge that will be essential to tactical decision making while en route to the incident.  Likewise crews will utilise the same technology to communicate back to North West Fire Control to pass information and request additional assistance.

The Role of the Control Room Operator includes:

  • Handling emergency and administrative calls
  • Monitoring and Maintaining the availability of emergency resources
  • Obtaining clear and accurate details of incident locations and mobilising the correct resources
  • A knowledge of specialist equipment and resource requirements for each incident type
  • Keeping people calm and giving lifesaving fire survival guidance to trapped callers within high-pressure situations
  • Maintaining comprehensive and accurate data records 
  • Liaison with crews at incidents to ensure that they have the required resources
  • Gathering statistics and ensuring reports are carried out with great attention to detail
  • Co-ordinating incidents requiring a multi-agency or emergency service response

The ideal Control Room Operator will be:

  • Literate and numerate with experience in report writing
  • Attentive to detail with the ability to receive and record information accurately
  • An excellent communicator with the ability to listen, reassure and explain situations clearly
  • Able to remain calm under pressure and provide guidance in stressful situations
  • Able to work as part of a wide reaching team across a number of organisations working towards a set of combined aims, objectives and goals
  • Skilled in ICT work and familiar with a variety of software applications including Microsoft Office
  • Able to work a 24/7 roster pattern including early, mid and night shifts combined with  strategically rostered reserve hours
  • Be a real team player
  • Positive in their approach, dedicated and willing to learn at all times
Our Control Room staff work a 4 shift On and 4 days Off roster pattern.  The tour of duty can include 0700-1900 day shift,1200 - 2200 mid shift and 1900 - 0700 night shift covering 24/7 all year round.
Do you want to work in an organisation where you could make a difference to somebody’s life?

Do you want to be part of a dedicated, professional organisation with a real career path and ongoing development opportunities?

Do you want every day to be different and challenging?

See an example of how important our work can be on an daily basis by clicking on the link below:
For job opportunities see our Vacancies page on this website.