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International Control Room Week: Meet Jacqui

It’s International Control Room Week and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is sharing some of the faces behind the phones throughout the week. 

Control Room Operator Jacqui Ferguson is one of the longest serving members of the Service’s control room. With 27 years’ service under her belt, the chances are you’ve probably spoken to Jacqui if you’ve needed to call Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS).

Jacqui joined the Service in 1987 in an administration role, she joined the control room team five years later after friends, who were already working in Control, said she should give the role ago.

“I did and 27 years later, here I am,” says Jacqui. “I still really enjoy my job, no two days are the same. When you answer an emergency call, you never know what type of incident you'll be dealing with.”

Jacqui is on Green Watch, one of four watches that follow the same rota as the Service's wholetime firefighters, and her team works closely with those on the frontline.

As a shift worker, she follows a rota of two days followed by two nights and then has four days off. “I enjoy doing the shift work,” says Jacqui, “it fitted in with family life when my kids were younger.”

The Service’s Control Room Operators are responsible for a number of different tasks each shift including answering emergency calls, dispatching the nearest crew and making sure the right appliances are allocated to incidents.

“People think we just answer the telephone or they assume when they’ve called that you go through to the local fire station and sometimes they think we‘re the BT operator.

“We answer calls for the whole county so we need callers to give us specific details so we can send crews to locate them. This can be difficult when callers are distressed and we do our best to reassure them and calm them down.”

Read more about some of the Service’s Control Room Operators here: www.essex-fire.gov.uk/news

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