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Avon Fire & Rescue Service: Control Firefighter Operative

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Applications close February 7th 2022

As a Control Firefighter Operative you will provide a vital service to your community by dealing with 999 calls ranging from house fires to serious road traffic collisions to cliff rescues. Staffed 24 hours a day and a crucial part of the Avon Fire & Rescue Service family, Firefighter Control help mobilise crews, identify exact locations, provide fire safety advice to people who might be trapped inside a burning building and continue to reassure callers until the moment firefighters arrive on the scene. You will also trained in dealing with other incidents, including chemical, radiological, biological and nuclear incidents.

A day in the life of a Control Firefighter Operative Our day shift officially starts at 0800hrs, however we arrive for 0730hrs to ensure the off going Watch (a team of 5) can brief us on what’s happened over the last 15hrs, this usually ensures they are released before 0800hrs.

We spend the next hour receiving information from each station regarding how many firefighters are on duty and what specialist kit is available. We make sure everyone is where they need to be. We check the calendar to ensure we have enough fire appliances available to us and enough to allow some to carry out training uninterrupted. We’re also checking our calendar to confirm our training plan and tasks for the shift and we arrange our breaks, we can’t leave the building so bring our own lunch with us, there’s a minimum of 5 of us on duty and we need 3 in the room at all times.

We have dedicated roles within the room, we take it in turns to either answer the 999 calls or work on the radio console which is our link with the firefighters out on incidents or carrying out community work. We switch roles each shift so have to know how to carry out all the jobs, but this stops the shifts ever getting monotonous.

Once we’ve gone through any changes in policy or procedure and carried out some training and admin tasks we begin our breaks, we have the ability to use the small gym, however we’re always recallable back into the Control room so we’re sometimes interrupted and running back in to help our team if calls come in from the public or crews need help managing an incident. The 9hrs fly by and soon it’s 1630hrs and the night Watch are in ready to get a hand over from us.

The night shift is a little different, it starts with the same admin tasks as the day shift followed by some training, but then we eat our supper. We usually eat together, taking it in turns making the meals in our well equipped kitchen, most of us had never cooked for more than ourselves when we joined but soon learnt how to cater for 5. If the Cook is confident it gives space for 1 other person to be out the Control room, maybe using the gym or carrying out some self-development with less distraction. However if the Cook needs help then the rest of us stay in the room and remain available for emergency calls etc.

At 2200hrs we focus on our personal training and development, reading up on the latest information from HQ or going over documents explaining how to manage certain incidents that we have less regularly, there’s plenty to keep on top of and it’s part of our role to ensure we know the latest information. We enter a period known as ‘stand down’ from 0000hrs until 0630hrs. During ‘stand-down’ most of us use the time to have a chat and catch up or we watch something we’ve downloaded on our phones or read a book, but basically we do something relaxing whilst remaining alert and ready for action should the phone ring. That’s if it’s a ‘good’ night, if we’ve picked up a big incident or have numerous smaller incidents rolling through the night then we are there helping the crews by keeping an accurate record of the incident, ensuring they have all the equipment they need and that we have enough fire appliances to cope with whatever happens next. We usually gather for a cup of tea at 0630hrs and begin making sure everything’s tidy and ready for the day watch, arriving at 0730hrs. There really isn’t ever a dull moment.

Selection Stages

Please note that selection dates are subject to change and the dates should be used as a guide only. Further details in relation to selection dates and stages will be confirmed by HR. It is critical that you check your email inbox on a regular basis so that you do not miss any vital communication.

Applications open – 31 January 2022 Applications close – 07 February 2022 Assessment Centre – w/c 07 March 2022 Interviews – w/c 04 April 2022 Training School – June 2022

Further details in relation to each selection stage can be found on :

Working hours

The Control room is staffed 24 hours, 365 days a year to ensure that we provide protection to our local community.

If successful within this campaign, you will work a shift pattern which includes working unsocial hours: two days (8am-5pm) followed by two nights (5pm-8am) and then four days off. Your shift pattern will be a rotating 8 day shift pattern which means that your working days will vary each week, moving one day forward each time (Monday start this week, Tuesday start next & so on). This will mean that you will have to work weekends, bank holidays and your birthday if they fall within your rostered days.

There will be approx. 8 people on your Watch, 5 of you need to be on duty therefore at least 2 of you can book time off throughout the year.

Annual Leave

Generous annual leave entitlement starting at 25 days, plus an additional eight bank holiday days per year. Annual leave entitlements increase with long service.


If successful, your starting salary will be £22,981. Once you complete the 12 week training school your salary will increase to £23,938. When you become a competent Firefighter Control Operative, after approx. 2 years, your salary will increase to £30,632.

Training and Development

There is a clear development pathway which will take you from Trainee Firefighter Control to Group Manager, that’s roughly 4 steps up the promotion ladder.

Development is encouraged and you will be supported throughout our 12 week training school course and beyond.

To ensure that our Control Firefighter Operatives are providing the best service to our local communities, we conduct regular training to ensure that their core competencies are kept in date throughout their career.

We expect you to take ownership of your own continuous development and if you wish to follow the career pathway, then we offer numerous management courses to assist development both from a technical aspect and to support you as a future leader within AFRS. These options can be explored with your Watch Manager as part of your personal development review.


You will automatically be enrolled into Bath and North East Somerset Local Government Pension Scheme.

You can find further details around this pension scheme via:

Benefits and Support

Health and wellbeing is a huge focus at AFRS. As an employee, you have access to our Station gyms and also support through our Health and Wellbeing Advisors.

We understand that the role of a Control Firefighter Operative is an equally rewarding yet demanding role which why resilience is important, at times the nature of the calls will be difficult however you will fully be supported by your Watch. There are numerous supportive services available to support your wellbeing; this includes a confidential counselling service, access to the Firefighters Charity and our Service Chaplin.

As an employee of AFRS, you will have access to free on-site parking and will be able to sign up to a Blue Light Discount card for numerous discounts and benefits.


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