Control Room – Wymondham, Joint Operations Centre
Address: CCR, Falconers Chase, Wymondham, NR18 0WW
This is the Service’s Control Room, managing all the calls for the County of Norfolk
The primary function of our 999 Communications and Control centre is to accept Emergency calls and ensure that the mobilisation of the appropriate resources takes place as quickly and efficiently as possible. We aim to answer 95% of our calls within 5 seconds and mobilise resources within 60 seconds
The Control room is staffed 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year. There are four watches Red, White, Blue, and Green. Each Watch consists of a Watch Manager, a Crew Manager and three full time Firefighter (control) operators per watch
They work a revolving shift system as follows:
- Day 1 0700 – 1800
- Day 2 0700 – 1800
- Day 3 1800 – 0700
- Day 4 1800 – 0700
- Day 5-8 Rota Days
Norfolk Fire and Rescue are proactive in offering flexible working. Therefore we have many other shift patterns in operation.
Could you be a Firefighter (Control)
There are no specific educational qualifications requirements for a Firefighter (Control) post, although computer literacy is an advantage. All potential Candidates will undergo extensive selection tests, apart from these, one of the most important attributes for a staff is the ability to remain calm and perform efficiently whilst under pressure and during what can be extremely stressful conditions.
The current starting salary for a Firefighter (Control) is £22,198 p.a. increasing to £23,122 after induction training, rising to £29,587 once competent, this period is variable between individuals.
What happens when you dial 999?
When you dial 999 you will be transferred to a BT operator who will ask you which Emergency Service you require. If you require the Fire and Rescue Service you will currently be transferred to your local Fire and Rescue Control Room.
When making a 999 call it is important that you remain calm to pass on the nature and location of the incident to the operator taking your call. If you hear sirens in the distance, do not hang up until you are told to do so. This siren could be going to a different incident!
We receive calls from many sources as well as the fixed and mobile telephone networks. These can come from other Emergency Services and Alarm Receiving Centres.
- Air Traffic Control
- Alarm Receiving Centres
Once a call is received and the appropriate resources despatched the Control staff work very closely with the crews on the fire ground using voice and data communications. All front line fire appliances and Officer cars are fitted with Automatic Vehicle Location Systems, Mobile Data Terminals and Mobile phones.
The Control staff will immediately action any requests from the Incident Commander, this could be informing or requesting other agencies, sending further appliances to an incident or advising senior Officers of escalating incidents.
Control staff are also responsible for co-ordinating appliances, personnel and equipment at every incident we are requested to attend.
The total number of calls last year was 20,763, which equates to an average of 56 calls in a 24 hour period. This takes into account that some days the numbers are less and other days they can be high. This is usual in spate conditions such as flash floods or the grass fire season.
Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service uses a computerised call handling and despatch system which enables staff to:
- Identify a Callers address from a landline.
- Track fire appliances and Officers cars to determine the nearest Appliance.
- Locate an area to within a 300 m radius of the caller using just a Mobile telephone number.
Due to Norfolk’s rural nature we deal with many other incidents other than fires, these are known as Special Service Emergency. They include:
- Road Traffic collisions
- Chemical Incidents
- Aircraft Incidents
- Water Rescues
- Railway Incidents
- Animal Rescues
- Lift Rescues
These are just a few calls we respond to but do to the unpredictable nature of the fire service we could be called to anything!
Every call we take and all subsequent action is automatically recorded. This recorded information can be used as evidence and persons convicted of making a False Alarm Malicious call will be prosecuted. Sending Fire appliances to false call outs wastes valuable time in responding to real emergencies and could cost lives. If the malicious call is made from a mobile phone there are special arrangements in place with the airtime suppliers for the originating phone to be barred from the network.
During quiet times when control staff are not dealing with Operational incidents they are busy dealing with administration work and maintaining competencies. They also provide resilience to partner control staff within our consortium of the East Coast and Hertfordshire Control Room Consortium (ECHCRC) which includes Lincolnshire, Humberside and Hertfordshire through a new efficient working arrangement.