Emergency call supervision

Control Measure Knowledge

Emergency calls are received in various ways and sometimes under difficult circumstances. Calls from the public can be challenging; poorly-handled calls can delay the arrival of resources at an incident, putting members of the public and operational personnel at-risk.

Call handling supervision may be provided by the fire control commander, another supervisory manager or suitably experienced team member. It should be available where possible during emergency calls and may include visual or audio monitoring, or both.

Prompts and support may be provided to the call taker during supervision of an emergency call, including:

  • Assistance to identify the location of the incident
  • Prompts to support effective information gathering
  • Assistance with the allocation and mobilisation of resources

Such assistance may be required in any emergency call, but particularly in more complex situations such as survival guidance calls.

It is important that appropriate methods of communication are used when supervising emergency calls. Fire control personnel should be provided with a level of support that is appropriate to their level of experience and competence and which does not delay the gathering of information or prevent the building of rapport with the caller.

The development of all fire control personnel will continue through exposure to a variety of incidents, exercise scenarios and training activities. Fire and rescue services should have processes in place to assess the development of fire control personnel to decide when they are considered to have acquired the appropriate knowledge, skills and understanding to deal with all stages of an emergency call. This includes mobilising resources without direct supervision.

Fire control commanders should be aware of the stages of development, skills and experience of all fire control personnel they work with and ensure that appropriate call handling supervision is applied when necessary. They should ensure that all members of their teams understand how to request emergency call supervision in situations where it has not initially been provided.

The need for additional monitoring and supervision of the work of fire control personnel in development or during acquisition of skills training should be considered, and appropriate methods of support put in place. The method of support selected will depend on the individual circumstances, but may include:

  • Audio and visual monitoring of emergency call handling
  • Audio and visual monitoring of other work activities
  • Training activities to support learning and development
  • Mentoring activities to support learning and development

Fire control commanders should ensure that appropriate emergency call supervision is available where fire control personnel are in the acquisition phase of their training or are not yet deemed competent.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions