Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service

Regional Control Centre

What happens when you dial 999?

You will be answered by a telephone exchange operator who will ask you which emergency service you require.

Stay on the line and you will then be connected to the Fire & Rescue Service Regional Control Centre at Headquarters in Lisburn, NOT your local fire station.

Even if you have barred the ‘calling line identity’ facility, your telephone number will be displayed to the telephone exchange operator. This is a safety feature to enable us to ascertain an approximate location of the emergency.

As you are being connected to the Fire & Rescue Service you will hear the telephone exchange operator passing your telephone number to the Fire & Rescue Service Control Operator.

  • The Fire & Rescue Service Control Operator will then ask you a number of questions
  • What is the full address?
  • What is on fire?
  • Is there anybody trapped?
  • Are there any nearby landmarks?
  • What telephone number are you dialling from?
  • You may be asked for your name and address

Why we need to ask you these questions

  1. We need to know the address where the emergency is. This information is entered into our computer to enable us to pinpoint exactly where our fire appliances need to attend.
  2. We need to know what is on fire or what other emergency you have to enable us to decide what our response will be. i.e. how many fire appliances we will send.
  3. We need to know if people are trapped inside a building to enable our highly trained operators to offer fire survival advice.
  4. Nearby landmarks, such as pubs or telephone boxes, are valuable sources of information which enable our drivers to reach your location as quickly as possible.
  5. We need to know the telephone number that you are calling from, so that we can contact you again if we need any further information from you. This information is not given to anyone other than emergency service personnel.
  6. We may need to know your name and address. This can be used as a guidance to where the fire has been seen from.

Remember

It may seem as though you are being asked too many questions and your call is taking too long to deal with. Don’t worry, the fire appliances are often mobilised while we are still talking to you and other valuable information can be gathered which will be passed on to the firefighters while they are enroute to the incident.
This situation may arise if a house or building is on fire and people are trapped.
If you are trapped in a fire situation and are unable to leave your property safely DON’T PANIC, our Fire Control Operator will stay on the line with you and have been specifically trained to offer you fire survival guidance to help you until the fire appliance arrives.

Unless you are directly affected by the fire and have an opportunity to escape, don’t put the telephone down until we have taken all the details.

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