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 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.