Fire and rescue analyst

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Helen Williams works in one of the Fire and Rescue Service's newest departments as a data analyst. It takes more than 17,000 emergency calls from the public every year. Her role is to analyse all information from these incidents to identify any trends which can be used to help reduce the causes of fire in the future.

Can you describe your work?

I am responsible for data analysis, identifying and evaluating fire hotspots. These are the areas which are most at risk of having fires, for a variety of reasons. The figures I compile and collate go to other departments within the fire service. I liaise with a variety of people within the brigade and other agencies, such as the local council and police.

Why is this data useful?

It is used by various community organisations to highlight the areas for education initiatives and for pinpointing the dangerous hotspots to the public.

How is it used?

The Young Firefighters' Association is a youth organisation which helps young people in the community by teaching them the skills of fire fighting. The statistics we calculate are used to educate them in areas of fire safety, raise their awareness of arson and also teach them the consequences of hoax calls and anti-social behaviour which can have disastrous results.

Do you have a typical day?

No – my daily routine varies considerably according to the needs of the brigade. Some of my work is purely office-based, analysing and collating data using the computer or manual records. Sometimes, I am out visiting colleagues in fire stations. At other times, I meet representatives from local councils, the police and those agencies who are concerned with building a safer environment.

What other skills are necessary?

It's important to be very methodical with attention to detail. However, I also need to be open-minded enough to be able to see the bigger picture and spot trends. Also, because trends and patterns can take time to emerge I need to be patient and know when and how to prioritise the information I'm dealing with. Communication skills are also necessary because so many people seek my input and they expect me to be co-operative and approachable.

What hours do you work?

I work 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday, on a flexi-time basis.

What do you like best about your job?

I like the variety and the fact that I am dealing with real life incidents. I take my role very seriously because I am able to highlight problems for education purposes which will in turn make the Cleveland Fire Brigade a safer place.

Helen's route to becoming a fire and rescue analyst

  • GCSEs.
  • A Levels.
  • Business Studies degree.

Helen's analyst tips

  • Work hard at school, college or university to achieve the best results.
  • Be very thorough, especially when dealing with a variety of information from different sources.

Fire and rescue analyst related jobs

Salary of a fire and rescue analyst

  • Typical starting salaries for trainees are between £17,000 and £25,000.
  • Experienced data analysts can earn up to £40,000 for a senior database operations manager.
  • There are no set salary scales and salary depends on the type of employer and the nature of the work.

Getting in

  • Analysts need numeracy skills and a methodical mind to be able to use the techniques for collecting, analysing and interpreting data.
  • Most analysts will have HNC/HND or degree qualifications. Information Technology Apprenticeships are another possible route.
  • Statistics is a useful subject which can be studied from GCSE to post-graduate level. The Royal Statistical Society also offers examinations leading to its Ordinary Certificate, Higher Certificate and Graduate Diploma.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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