Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's operations and mobilising centre is based in a control room about a mile away from headquarters in Aylesbury.
The specially-trained team of 23, led by Station Manager Ali Chart, works in four watches of up to five members to provide 24-hour cover.
Since it was all brought under one roof in 1970, the control room has handled more than 800,000 calls. It currently receives an average of more than 300 a week.
The control room deploys the service's firefighters and fire and rescue vehicles to a variety of emergency incidents - mainly fires and road traffic collisions, but also a number of special service calls - in response to 999 calls. The number of incidents has averaged about 9,000 a year for the past 10 years. Although this is more than double the annual number 20 years ago, it is currently declining.
Control staff also provide a number of support services to the rest of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service, including providing statistical data and acting as a central communication centre both internally and to external services.
A number of the calls we receive come from people who are, not surprisingly, highly distressed. Staff have to be able to calm them down so that we can quickly find out everything we need to know about the incident before mobilising our fire and rescue vehicles and firefighters.
In some cases, the calls come from people who are trapped in house fires. Once again, specialist training enables staff to maximise their chances of survival while fire crews are on their way.
Before the control room centralised in Aylesbury, there were three divisional call-handling rooms in Aylesbury, Bletchley and High Wycombe.
Under plans published by the Government in 2003, the control room service for Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes was due to move to a regional centre in Hampshire, covering all nine fire authorities in the South East and serving a population of 8.5 million, in 2009. It would have been one of nine regional control centres across England.
Following a number of delays, the plan was shelved in 2010. Plans to work collaboratively with other fire authorities are currently being considered.