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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

getting to know us

Our Getting To Know Us Inside Out campaign is about informing everybody that we do so much more than you might expect. Get to know us inside out.

Behind the Badge

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is much more than fighting fires. Our hardworking staff help us to strive to achieve our vision to make Staffordshire the safest place to be. We have many different roles that cover the areas of prevent, protect, response, behind the scenes and community. Our Behind the Badge feature showcases these five areas and some of the varied jobs in the fire service.

Prevent


Community Support Officer - Chris Jenkins



Specialist Technician Apprentice - Kendra Deans

Kendra Dean My job role is working solely within the local community of Stoke-On-Trent and Staffordshire. Each day myself and 3 other members from my team fit specialist deaf equipment to anyone with a hearing impairment. I fit a wide range of equipment from Fireangel to Bellman, with each type of equipment varying to suit each person’s individual needs. Alongside fitting the equipment my job role also means that I have to discuss with customers what equipment we have fitted, why we have fitted it and if there is a problem with the equipment in the future, what they can do to solve that problem.

I left school in May 2015 and after working alongside the Fire Cadet programme based in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, I knew straight away I wanted to join the fire service and work within the community. I applied for this job and out of over 100 applicants, I was lucky enough to be chosen. I have a hearing problem myself so I know how the customers we visit would feel if they were unable to hear the smoke alarms.

Partnership and Engagement Officer - Mark Downes



Protect


Fire Engineer - Stuart Ruckledge



John Berrisford - Business Support Lead

I joined Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service 26 years ago, initially as a retained Firefighter at Burslem. I have had several roles since including Watch Manager at Newcastle Fire Station before joining the Central Risk Reduction Team in September 2009 as the Business Support Lead.

My role is heavily influenced by networking and finding out what the businesses of Staffordshire really need in terms of support and assistance. Our primary role is to offer preventative services and advice, but we also attend live incidents and provide post incident support. The recovery phase of an incident can be just as stressful and frustrating and we provide a helping hand with getting back into business.

The primary objective of my particular role is to protect the local and wider economy and supporting businesses is one way in which we do this. We don’t just offer fire safety advice and training we offer a range of services that are tailored to suit the needs of our clients. We have developed a range of services that can be delivered by our trained instructors, guidance over the telephone and more increasingly providing online services via the internet.

Business continuity is big issue for business at the moment and current statistics suggest that any business that has a continuity plan will suffer 50% less damage or loss than those that don’t have a plan. The business support team can provide a link to free planning software and assistance in putting together a business continuity plan.

Ashley Mathers - Fire Safety Assistant



Response


Helen Green - Crew Manager

I first joined Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2004 as a retained firefighter, I was successful in my whole time application to Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2005 and returned to Staffordshire both whole time and retained in 2006. I have spent many years gaining knowledge and experience as a firefighter both on and off the fire ground. I have worked in all service delivery groups and across all duty systems.

I have recently been promoted substantively into the role of Crew Manager, however, I have been performing this role in various temporary positions for the past 3 years. I am also currently Crew Manager on my retained watch. Operationally the role of Crew Manager can be quite varied, we attend a variety of incidents which can range from road traffic collisions and house fires to animal rescues and trapped people. When in charge at incidents it is a Crew Managers job to form plans, brief crews and maintain the safety of everyone present. Incidents are very fluid situations and it is our job as Officer in Charge to make sure there is always a plan A, B, C etc.

Outside of our operational responsibilities, a Crew Manager supports the Watch Manager in the day to day running of the watch by organising training, crewing and risk reduction work for the watch.

The shift patterns vary across the service, I am currently Day Crew which involves 12 hour shifts from 8am to 8pm with no night shifts and each station is covered by two watches. The majority of stations work on the 2:2:4 shift pattern, this involves two day shifts from 8am to 7pm followed by two night shifts 7pm to 8am, each station is covered by four watches. Outside of these Whole time patterns we have retained crews; this is a given pattern of cover where individuals are on call from their local station area. The crew must attend the fire station and be mobile to the incident within 5 minutes of the call.

James Round - Fire Control Operator

I have worked for the Fire Service as a Control Operator for approximately 6 years in total. There was an initial 8 week training course, consisting of an exam every week. Once this initial training was complete if we were successful, we sat with a mentor in Fire Control for 30 shifts, with an exam at the end. This in turn was followed by a further exam every two months for a 1 year period before an operator is deemed ‘competent in role’ and able to handle any incident without supervision.

I have been a control operator the entire time I have worked for the Fire Service, and the role has changed to include a great deal more than it did when I started.

Overall our objectives in Fire Control are to ensure we take information about emergencies from the public, dispatch the appropriate resources, and when they arrive, assist those resources in any way we are able to ensure a swift, efficient and safe conclusion of all incidents across both counties.

My primary responsibilities as a Fire Control operator include but are not limited to taking emergency 999 calls, mobilising the most appropriate fire appliances and personnel to incidents, taking radio messages from the crews at incidents and accurately recording that information on a computerised log. In addition we maintain and record personnel levels and equipment and book fire appliances/personnel available/unavailable as needed and assist in maintaining appropriate fire cover across both the West Midlands and Staffordshire. For Staffordshire this also includes using retained personnel software called FireWatch, which we interrogate every 30 minutes to check for availability of retained crews and then book the relevant stations available or unavailable as needed. We act in partnership with our crews and many other agencies such as Police, Ambulance, Highways Agency, local councils, Environment Agency, water/electric/gas boards to name but a few. This includes relaying relevant information to them as needed, or requesting their assistance to deal with incidents that are on-going. We are a primary source of information for officers and crews and assist in bringing incidents to a safe conclusion. We also are involved with liaising with news and media press teams when required to relay appropriate information regarding on going incidents and we often release information through channels such as Twitter on behalf of both Fire Service’s outside of the working hours of each Service’s media teams.

In addition to the response based emergency work we also play a key role in prevention work. We co-ordinate prevention based activity by making the necessary arrangements for crews to visit occupiers to ensure the most vulnerable members of our communities are kept safe. Our role in this work includes taking calls, organising appointments, liaising with occupiers, inputting referrals that are sent to the brigade on a daily basis and ensuring we reach the most vulnerable of our communities as a priority. This work is done throughout the course of a working day or night and as such we are required to switch between Response and Prevent work as required throughout a shift.

My shift pattern currently operates on a ‘4 on 4 off’ basis. This consists of two 11 hour day shifts working from 8am until 7pm, followed by two nights of working 7pm to 8am the following day, I then get 4 rota days off, before the pattern starts over again.

In order to support our role as operators we primarily use a software package called Vision. This package is our ‘mobilising system’. It allows us to search for addresses, use maps and address information to locate incidents, it allows us to mobilise fire appliances and personnel and keep records of vehicles, equipment and personnel available to us. For communication, other than using Vision, our main phone system is the ICCS, or Integrated Command Control System, essentially a touch screen phone/radio system. It allows us to make calls, receive calls on various lines, receive and send radio messages to crews and officers and acts as an address book and quick access system for the hundreds of agencies, officers and companies we liaise with on a daily basis. Separately from this we also have an ‘admin PC’ which allows us to do the typical office based tasks such as emails, documents, internet access etc. and most notably we use this PC for our prevention work as well.

In conclusion, the role of a Control Operator is a vitally important, extremely varied and complex role which draws on skills of communication, knowledge, multitasking and caring for the welfare of our crews and communities. Each day is never the same and although we are not on the incident ground itself, we are the front line team, being the link between the public and our numerous officers, crews and emergency resources, performing a critical role in providing the emergency response of the Fire Service.

Fire Investigation Lead - Paul Shaw



Behind the Scenes


Welephant's work day



Driver Training - Rowan Kitton 



Community


Volunteer - Peter Pearsall



Princes Trust



Community Rooms