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What is Fire Control?

The Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) emergency control room is the first point of contact for a member of the public when dialling 190 to inform the fire service of a fire or ambulance emergency. Fire control operators (FCOs) are highly skilled professionals entrusted with the initial information gathering and subsequent mobilisation of fire and/or ambulance resources.  

Fire Control Staff

There are nine Fire Controllers at the GFRS. Three in each watch (Blue Watch, Red Watch and White Watch), including a Leading Fire Controller in each watch.

The Role

The GFRS Fire Control’s day-to-day role is to gather as much information as possible from callers, ensure this information is transferred to the Officer In Charge (OIC), and mobilise the correct fire and/or ambulance resources to the correct address.

The Control Operator’s role is the essential first step in getting appliances, officers, and other supporting services to an incident, therefore getting accurate information is paramount. All information and action taken regarding an incident are recorded in computerised logs.

The incidents can range from small/large fires, water rescue, animal rescue, road traffic collisions, rescue from height/depth. Ambulance related calls, to assisting other emergency services with incidents involving significant threats to life or property.

Their role also encompasses giving life-saving advice to people who are often in distress, frightened or panicking. They may need to react quickly in a crisis, or communicate vital information with clarity. Most of the callers will be extremely emotional and/or in distress, therefore our Fire Control Staff must adhere to procedures in a cool, calm and collected manner.

Speed is of the essence, as soon as an emergency call is received at the Fire and Rescue Service Control Room. Delay could result in loss of life and/or extensive damage to property.

Fire Control Operators play a vital role in supporting an emergency incident. They are there from the first call until the incident is safely resolved.


The term mobilising is commonly used in the fire service to denote all that is involved in determining correct attendances of the appliances, equipment and officers required, and then dispatching these to fire related incidents and other emergencies or requests. 

The undeniable overriding aim of any mobilisation procedures must be to ensure an efficient and appropriate deployment of resources to achieve an effective response to guarantee a safer Gibraltar. 

GFRS Mobilising Process 

The diagram below shows the key stages in which the GFRS deals with an emergency call from receipt of the call, to the time that the GFRS resources arrive on scene to resolve the incident. There are two main stages to handling an emergency call; these are (a) the role played by our fire control operators (‘Control activity’); and (b) the actions taken by the crews sent (mobilised) to the incident (‘Crew

Gfrs Mobilisation Diagram

Telephone CPR

Anyone ringing 190 or 112 for an emergency ambulance will now be asked 4 questions to establish if the patient requires resuscitation. Where appropriate, the Controller will provide instructions on how to perform CPR pending Ambulance and Paramedic arrival.

This joint initiative between the Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service, is aimed at increasing the chances of survival for those who may have suffered a cardiac arrest. Callers and/or bystanders will receive step-by-step instructions on how to perform these potentially life-saving actions.

Early successful resuscitation intervention is an effective treatment in preventing death from sudden cardiac arrest, one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide. Telephone-CPR has been shown to significantly reduce the number of deaths from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and improve the quality of life experienced by survivors.

What is Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)?

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is often referred to a CPR. It is an emergency procedure consisting of chest compressions and artificial ventilation aimed at pumping blood and oxygen around the body to the vital organs. It is the immediate treatment for someone in cardiac arrest i.e. where a person is unresponsive with no breathing or very abnormal ‘agonal’ breathing.

What is an Automated external defibrillator (AED)?

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is an electronic device that can help save the life of someone experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest. They are easy to use, portable, with clear step-by-step instructions. An AED can analyse the heart rhythm and decide whether the delivery of an electrical current, often referred to as ‘a shock’, is necessary to restart the heart.

Fire Control