Fire Communications Centres are an integral part of the QFRS. There are seven centres located around the state of Queensland and collectively they handled in excess of 65,000 incidents in the last financial year (2006-07).
When a triple-zero (000) call is made, it is re-routed from Telstra to the appropriate emergency service (Fire, Police or Ambulance) and subsequently the closest communications centre to the location of the incident.
Emergency calls received at 'Firecom' are controlled by Fire Communications Officers who gather information from the caller, including the geographical location and the nature of the emergency. Once details are recorded, fire appliances are dispatched utilising a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system and other associated technologically-advanced equipment.
It is the responsibility of the Fire Communications Officers to maintain contact with the dispatched fire crews, usually by way of radio communications, and to action further requests for assistance as required.
As well as dispatching, co-ordinating and managing resources, Fire Communications Officers also perform a number of other duties that ensure the effective day-to-day running of the QFRS. Tasks such as monitoring fire alarms, processing of general and non-urgent enquiries, updating data and collating various reports/documentation.
In recent times, the role of Fire Communications Officer has expanded to include field deployment with Task Forces, both intra and inter state. In these instances, designated Firecom Officers can be called upon to serve away from home for up to five days at a time.
Fire Communications Officers have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to work under pressure and in stressful situations. They also have the ability to prioritise heavy workloads (eg. bushfires/storm season) and multi-task in a time critical environment.