Preventing, Protecting, Responding
When people think of the Fire and Rescue Service, they tend to think of Firefighters responding to emergency calls, and although this is a reality, the roles and responsibilities within North Wales Fire and Rescue Service (NWFRS) go far beyond these traditional images.
In addition to Wholetime and Retained Duty Firefighters, the Service employs people in a variety of diverse and challenging support roles, and the vital work carried out behind the scenes is just as crucial in helping to make North Wales a safer place to live, work and visit.
Our success is due to the dedication, professionalism and commitment of our staff across the Service. Whether it's making sure our staff are paid on time, ensuring that adequate supplies and equipment are available to staff, building links with local communities and providing advice and guidance on various issues or answering and dealing with emergency calls at our control centre, we offer a range of excellent career opportunities and benefits, including:
Competitive fixed salary structure
Contributory pension scheme
Flexible working scheme
Childcare vouchers for eligible staff
Access to Service gym facilities and health and wellbeing programmes
Occupational health service
Colleague support programme
Ongoing training and career development opportunities
Uniforms for all staff
Below is a list of some of the less obvious career opportunities within the Service:
Human Resources Adviser
Corporate Communications Officer
IT Systems Analyst
General Purpose Drivers
Arson Reduction Officer
Physical Fitness Advisers
Please read on for a brief overview of the various departments within the Service.
999/112 calls to the Fire and Rescue Service are put through to control staff at the Joint Communications Centre on St Asaph Business Park. This Centre is a collaborative facility that NWFRS and North Wales Police share.
NWFRS Control staff deal with around 108,000 calls each year, approximately 17,000 of which are emergency calls that could require the immediate despatch of crews, fire appliances and specialist equipment. Operators are also trained to give fire survival assistance to callers who are trapped.
Emergency calls can cover a range of events such as fires, road traffic collisions, incidents involving hazardous materials, flooding and many others. Control operators work in teams ('watches') and use a range of sophisticated information technology to assist them in dealing with emergency calls and mobilising the quickest and most appropriate resource from any of the 44 fire stations in North Wales.
Human Resources (HR) and Equalities
The department's primary role is to provide advice, guidance and support, both internally and externally, in respect of employment issues such as recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment, equality issues, attendance management, occupational health, support services, job descriptions, job evaluation and general staff welfare. The department actively promotes equality and raises awareness of equal opportunities and fairness and helps promote cultural change. Another major responsibility of the HR department is ensuring that all operational staff maintain the fitness requirements of their role, this involves a team of Fitness Advisers conducting regular fitness assessments and where necessary, providing tailored programmes and nutritional advice. Support staff also have access to advice and guidance from the Fitness Advisers Team. Ensuring that all staff adhere to the Services' Core Values is key for this department.
A key challenge for the Corporate Communications Team is to ensure that the Service's messages are seen, heard, and understood. Corporate Communications comprises the following core functions:
- External communications - managing the Service website, media relations, social media, public relations, public affairs, strategic campaigns, public engagement and consultation, crises management, and other electronic media including blogging, e-advertising, mobile apps and online surveys
- Internal communications - staff engagement and consultation, staff communications via the Weekly Brief and the quarterly newsletter Y Fflam, staff focus groups and seminars
- Corporate identity and reputation - branding, design, publications, events, advertising
This department also ensures that as a Service we meet our duty to treat both the English and Welsh languages equally as defined by the Welsh Language Act.
This department is primarily responsible for ensuring; compliance with legislation, promoting continuous improvement, the production of strategic improvement plans, service and departmental plans, and the production of performance assessment and monitoring reports. It also undertakes incident data extraction and analysis and provides intelligence to managers in order to make informed business decisions regarding service strategies.
Finance, Pensions and Payroll
This department makes sure that the Authority's funds are managed legally and correctly. It is responsible for budget setting and monitoring, processing invoices for payment, processing timesheets and travel claims, monitoring petty cash imprest accounts, preparing and monitoring capital budgets, providing pensions advice and processing debtor invoices.
The Service has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Conwy County Borough Council for the provision of Financial Services. This SLA includes preparing budget reports and accounts, payment of invoices (BACS and cheques), calculating pay and payment, providing banking and investment services, arranging capital financing, providing technical advice on accounting issues and managing income.
Information Communications Technology (ICT)
This department's role is to provide and maintain an up-to-date and efficient ICT provision within the Service to support its effective operation and delivery of services. The ICT department also provides technical security and protection of the Service's systems, data and information.
This function is provided through a collaborative contract with North Wales Police. Its main responsibilities relate to: the capital programme that includes new buildings, remodelling existing buildings, refurbishments and improvements; ensuring the repair and maintenance of existing buildings and sites; managing energy and utility consumption in buildings, monitoring the levels of energy and water usage and promoting energy efficiency; and acquiring and disposing of land and buildings.
The Fleet and Engineering department is based in Llandudno Junction. The department's primary responsibilities are for the design, purchase and maintenance of the Service's fleet of vehicles and appliances.
The Stores department is located in Llandudno Junction. It is responsible for provision and supply of all clothing, equipment etc.
The operations department supports the operational technical responsibilities of the Service, including operational policy and procedures, performance management and emergency planning.
The department also oversees the provision of:
- appliances - contributing to the development, commissioning and validation of new appliances (vehicles) to meet the Service's current and future needs
- uniform - to ensure that operational personnel are provided with a high degree of comfort and safety
- equipment - evaluating, procuring and validating a range of equipment for use on appliances and at fire stations, and ensuring that equipment is serviced and maintained to a high standard of operational readiness
The Fire Safety department's objective is to protect North Wales by reducing the incidence and effects of fire. The department comprises two distinct aspects:
Business Safety (BS)
People who own or manage non-domestic premises are legally responsible under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for fire safety in those premises. Fire and Rescue Authorities enforce those legal responsibilities. The BS department conducts audits of relevant premises, and advises employers on Fire Safety and risk assessment of premises.
Community Safety (CS)
Fire and Rescue Authorities have a duty under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 to provide information, publicity and encouragement to prevent fires and associated deaths and injuries.
CS includes Home Safety Checks, talks to schools and groups, special campaigns and initiatives (e.g. arson reduction, Phoenix courses), publicity events and guidance.
This department also provides non-statutory guidance on other aspects of community safety such as on the roads and near water.
Health and Safety
The primary role of the Health and Safety function is to comply with statutory duty and reduce accidents and injuries within the workplace. This involves ensuring that the Service's Health and Safety policy is developed, monitored, reviewed and practised and the culture of safety education is continually addressed and promoted across the Service. Trends in accidents and other safety event occurrences are identified and acted upon.
The Support Services Coordinator ensures that this department provides day-to-day administrative support to NWFRS Headquarters, which includes managing the main telephone switchboard and reception area. This department also deals with incoming queries and handles all requests submitted under the Freedom of Information legislation and the Data Protection Act. Other Support Services include the management of Cooks and Cleaners and Office Supplies.
Training and Development
The Training and Development department is situated in Rhyl but also has a training centre at Dolgellau; the department offers a full range of courses for operational and non operational staff. This also includes a driving school and Welsh language development opportunities.