Celebrating International Control Room Week

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is celebrating the hard work of those who answer when you call for help – as part of International Control Room Week. The awareness campaign is running from Monday 23rd October for one week to highlight the amazing work of the staff in control rooms and to raise awareness of the crucial work they do.

Some heroes wear headsets

The Control Room is the first port of call for anyone who needs assistance from WYFRS. Our Fire Control team deals with hundreds of calls daily through the 999 lines, plus offers advice and assistance on other fire and rescue-related matters to members of the public.  Fire Control provides ongoing support and assistance with the continued management of all operational incidents, taking appropriate action to make West Yorkshire safer.  

Often our handlers must deal with stressful or upsetting calls as they try to obtain accurate information quickly from emergency situations. They use training and experience to gather all the facts and make sure the correct resources are allocated to an incident – sometimes while giving out life-saving survival guidance to callers. 

Watch Manager Julie Carter has worked in Control for 30 years and is supporting the week of action. She said: “Teamwork is the best part of our job – we work together on a huge variety of issues, all to bring the best possible service to the public we protect.

“In my time here, I’ve dealt with dozens of memorable calls – the one that sticks out for me is when I had to give fire survival guidance to a family trapped in a fire – they had a four-week-old baby with them, and the advice I gave them allowed them all to be evacuated safely – I actually received a commendation for the call.”

Fire Control deal with approximately 100,000 emergency calls a year and mobilise to over 25,000 incidents.  WYFRS has amongst the top five largest Fire Control Rooms in England, working in partnership with colleagues at a regional and national level.  

Although it is imperative that staff deal with emergency calls as quickly as possible, it is of equal focus to ask the right questions and gain the most information possible from callers, to mobilise the appropriate resources.  Our training strategy is meticulously comprehensive to ensure our staff are trained, qualified, and ready for all possible eventualities.

Our staff work to the Fire Control Fire Standard, and have National Operational Guidance for Fire Control, along with National Occupational Standards and a Skills for Justice accredited pathway to competence.