Hannah Cockram and control staff

What to expect from Control training school

By Hannah Cockram

The 12-week training school to become a Firefighter Control Operator is a busy and intense period but one that is enjoyable and rewarding.

There are various elements to the course including classroom-based learning, experience in the Control room and outside agency visits.

People who are looking to join need to be dedicated to learning a lot of new information and to be able to work well in a small team.

The first few weeks consist of getting you ready to work in the Control Room before joining a watch and working on shift for around five weeks.

This will not only involve taking 999 calls, but also dealing with admin calls, knowing the different stations, their appliances and specialities.

It’s completely normal to be nervous when going into the Control room for the first time; however, everyone in there has been through the same training school and knows what it’s like.

Everyone is really supportive and helpful and are there to make you feel at ease and comfortable with dealing with a range of different calls.

This is a time when there is no pressure on you at all and you are constantly supported and monitored by a colleague. It’s a really valuable time to get to know the Control Room and the range of tasks that you will undertake. Within such a short space of time, the watch becomes your new family!

The final few weeks of the training school include a lot of outside agency visits including Police and Ambulance Control, Highways Agency, and station visits to get involved in road traffic collision drills and wearing breathing apparatus.

These few weeks really help you visualise and appreciate the bigger picture when working in the Control Room.

Twelve weeks can seem like a long time but it really does fly by, and once you’ve completed them and have your graduation ceremony it really does make you feel a real sense of achievement.

There is a lot of information to learn, and there are weekly tests to check your knowledge, but by being determined and hardworking it’s all achievable.

You build a really strong bond with the other recruits you join with and then you continue to help each other once working on watch permanently.

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