The spider web behind our firefighting operations

“The staff of the Working on Fire (WOF) Department of Dispatch and Coordination are all heroes in their own right,” Lizette Heine, Head of Department for Dispatch and
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Written By Kishugu

On 02/11/2017

The spider web behind our firefighting operations

2 Nov, 2017Kishugu

“The staff of the Working on Fire (WOF) Department of Dispatch and Coordination are all heroes in their own right,” Lizette Heine, Head of Department for Dispatch and Coordination stated. When unwanted wildfires spread, threatening lives, properties and the environment, these dedicated WoF Wildfire Dispatchers answer calls for assistance with professional confidence. They ensure that the required WOF resources are dispatched to where the battle is fought.

Dispatch and Coordination has been functioning since 1986 and has grown from the initial one dispatcher to a current staff component of 75 – give or take the seasonal requirements. The WOF dispatchers are based at Type 1 and Type 3 dispatch centres across the country and are supported by Provincial Coordinators, National Coordinators and an HOD with 31 years of experience.

WOF dispatchers will answer a phone call within three rings. They will then dispatch the requested resources to the correct location – whether it be to suppress an unwanted wildfire or to implement Integrated Fire Management services. These Dispatchers follow the dispatched firefighters, vehicles and aircraft during the missions.

The Dispatch and Coordination Department is the spider web that connects the various components of Working on Fire’s operations.

Did you know?
Type 1 Dispatch centres have two-way radio communication equipment to communicate with pilots in aircraft and are staffed with Type 2 and or Type 1 Wild Fire dispatchers. Mostly seasonal fixed-term employees.

Type 1 and 2: Dispatchers are qualified to dispatch both ground and aerial resources. The difference between Type 1 and 2 is the level of their experience.

Type 3: Are only responsible for the dispatching of ground resources. Most of these dispatchers started off as being WOF firefighters before moving over to the Dispatch department.

Type 3 Dispatch centres currently only use telephones to communicate with. Radios are an exception. Staff in these dispatch centres are all selected from WOF participants and dispatch WOF ground resources – firefighting teams and vehicle.

During the fiscal year, April 2015 – March 2016, the WOF Dispatch and Coordination staff activated a total of 30,449 movements supported by 43,405 supporting resources nationally.

During the fiscal year April 2016 – to March 2017, the staff activated a total of 35,103 movements supported by 42,538 supporting resources nationally.

During a period of nine years, since 2008 to end September 2017, a total of 19,023 unwanted wildfires were suppressed with the assistance of WOF resources!

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