Four watches (Red, White, Blue and Green) staff the Control Room over a 24-hour period. Each watch works a rolling shift system of two nine-hour day shifts (9am to 6pm), two 15-hour night shifts (6pm to 9am), and four days off duty.
Each watch consists of eight Firefighter Control Operators, two Crew Commanders and a Watch Manager. A Control Management Team is responsible for the effective day-to-day running of the Room, headed by a Principal Fire Control Officer.
All Control staff are highly trained individuals who are required to operate a range of sophisticated information technology. They must be able to react quickly, think fast and be able to take, respond to and relay instructions accurately.
An important job that Fire Control staff has to do is make sure that cover is maintained at Fire Stations so that, when further calls are received and appliance is available. To do this Control staff will make standby moves, mobilising fire engines from one fire station to another to ensure that they are available for subsequent incidents anywhere in the service area.
There are tried and tested contingency plans and arrangements in place, to maintain the emergency response, including backups for power supplies and computer failures. There is a secondary Control located in a nearby town, which Control staff can relocate to quickly. From here it is possible to duplicate all the emergency functions of the main Control Room, with no loss of efficiency.