Radio Operators at the dispatch centre

Surrey Fire Regional Dispatch provides emergency dispatch services to more than 50 communities.

Surrey Fire Regional Dispatch provides professional call-taking and dispatch for the Surrey Fire Service and several other municipalities across British Columbia. Over the years, we have grown our client base to multiple fire departments covering over 25% of the BC population for fire dispatch.

Dispatching for the fire service since 1975, our technology, team and services have all been tailored to serve the needs of fire crews across the province. 

Call volumes

Along with emergency fire dispatch, we provide after-hours public works for eleven lower mainland jurisdictions and after-hours bylaws for the City of Surrey.

In 2023, we generated more than 120,000 incidents for service. Innovations in technology provide automated down-streamed interfaces with the British Columbia Ambulance Services for CAD to CAD interoperability, providing the responding crews with quicker notification and overall faster response times.

Performance measurements & targets

Surrey Fire Regional Dispatch follows the National Fire Protection Association standards for its performance measurements and targets:

  • 911 call answering down-streamed calls from the Primary Service Answering Point (PSAP) in 15 seconds or less 95% of the time and within 40 seconds or less 99% of the time.
  • Dispatch processing emergency calls over the five-year period (2019-2023) are 48.6 seconds, well exceeding the standard. (The 2022 edition of NFPA 1225 - Standard for Emergency Services Communications, dictates that emergency alarm processing shall be completed within 60 seconds or less, 90% of the time).

How we operate

Surrey Fire Service operates on a two-platoon (or four-shift) system, with a group of full-time call-takers and dispatchers permanently assigned to each shift. These employees are supplemented by a team of dedicated and fully trained part-time staff that assist in matching peak staffing and coverage as required in the Centre.

Our Employees

In total, we currently employ 32 individuals in our Dispatch Centre. Our operators have an average of 10 years of fire-specific dispatch experience, and our comprehensive training requirements ensure that every operator is highly skilled and prepared to handle the needs of everything from high call volume urban centres to rural volunteer departments.

Surrey Fire Service is committed to providing comprehensive training and development programming. Employees are required to complete skills maintenance drills monthly, advance their education through related training material, and actively participate in department-wide training events, under the direction of a qualified shift supervisor and overseen by the Communications Manager.

Our Systems

Our systems are also continually updated to anticipate and serve the needs of firefighters. We understand that communication is critical, which is why Surrey Fire Regional Dispatch operators monitor tactical talk groups and provide continual support to on-scene fire crews, while at the same time maximizing efficiency and eliminating the need to carry two radios.

Our Commitment

Surrey Fire continues to advance its dispatching and service boundaries, answering to requests for proposals across British Columbia and identifying best practices for innovation and improved service levels. We are proud of the exceptional service we provide the citizens of Surrey and our client fire departments.

Interested in a career as a Radio Operator?

Radio Operator at dispatch station

1. Application

Apply at City of Surrey Careers when a posting is live.

  • Postings become available throughout the year
  • Applications are reviewed
  • Applicants with the best qualifications are invited to the next stage
2. Information Session (Optional)

This 1-hour session will describe the details of a career that is widely unknown but is a critical component in saving lives and property.

Learn about:

  • the Dispatch Centre
  • types of calls
  • the characteristics of a successful Radio Operator
  • the training program
  • shift patterns, wages and benefits.

To sign up for an information session, please see link at the bottom of this section.

3. CritiCall Testing

The CritiCall test is a computer-based test used to screen candidates for the Radio Operator role. It presents different scenarios to measure the likelihood of your success as a Radio Operator. This test contains several modules which include:

To pass, the candidate must be able to type 40 words a minute and score a minimum of 80% on the CritiCall modules.

There are many ways to prepare for the CritiCall exam. Practicing in advance, using simulated questions and circumstances, increasing your typing speed, and working on your data-entry, map reading, and attention to details skills will help you get ready for test day.

4. Phone Interview

This short interview allows us to learn more about you and your suitability as a Radio Operator. Successful candidates will be moved into an in-person interview.

5. In-person Interviews

During this stage the interviewers will assess the candidate for strength of character and moral fortitude.

The last cut of successful candidates will sit in front of a panel of interviewers representing Exempt Managers, Union Executive and Human Resources.

The candidate answers questions from the panel and provides examples from their personal experience to enhance their answers and reveal their personality and character.

See City of Surrey Applicant Resources for further guidance.

6. Dispatch Centre Orientation

Each candidate will be scheduled into a 2-hour session to observe the working environment of a Surrey Radio Operator. This allows the candidate to assess their suitability as they observe radio operators work as a team to answer calls and dispatch resources to support the public.

7. Psychometric Testing

What is psychometric testing?

A series of written assessments that measure a person’s aptitudes, the way they think, interact with others, problem solve and deal with stress.

This stage screens applicants by testing the candidates competencies. This helps us choose candidates with values that align with those of the City and will serve the public with integrity.

8. Final Stage

The final stages consists of reference and police information checks.

An offer letter is provided to the successful candidate(s) to become part of the Surrey Fire Service team! 

Information Sessions

Find out what it takes to be a Radio Operator by attending a one-hour online information session.

2024 dates: July 10, August 7 and September 11

We will send you more information and a session link when you sign up.

Fire Departments We Serve

  • Anglemont Volunteer Fire Department
  • Bowen Island Fire Department
  • Bralorne Volunteer Fire Department
  • Celista Volunteer Fire Department
  • Colwood Fire Rescue
  • Cranberry Volunteer Fire Department
  • District of North Vancouver Fire Rescue
  • Eagle Bay Volunteer Fire Department
  • East Wellington Fire Department
  • Esquimalt Fire Rescue
  • Extension Volunteer Fire Department
  • Falkland Volunteer Fire Department
  • Field Fire Rescue
  • Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department
  • Golden Fire Rescue
  • Langford Fire Rescue
  • Langley City Fire Rescue Service
  • Lantzville Fire Rescue
  • Lillooet Fire Department
  • Lions Bay Fire Rescue
  • Malakwa Volunteer Fire Department
  • Maple Ridge Fire Rescue
  • Nanaimo Fire Rescue
  • Nicholson Volunteer Fire Department
  • North Cedar Fire Department
  • North Saanich Fire Department
  • North Vancouver City Fire Department
  • Pitt Meadows Fire Rescue
  • Port Coquitlam Fire & Emergency Services
  • Ranchero/Deep Creek Volunteer Fire Department
  • Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services
  • Salmon Arm Fire Department
  • Sasamat Fire Department
  • Scotch Creek/Lee Creek Volunteer Fire Department
  • Seton Valley Fire Department
  • Shuswap Volunteer Fire Department
  • Sicamous Fire Department
  • Sidney Fire Rescue
  • Silver Creek Volunteer Fire Department
  • Skwlax Fire Department
  • Surrey Fire Service
  • Swansea Point Volunteer Fire Department
  • Tappen/Sunnybrae Volunteer Fire Department
  • Township of Langley Fire Department
  • Victoria Fire Department
  • View Royal Fire Rescue
  • West Vancouver Fire Rescue
  • White Lake Volunteer Fire Department
  • White Rock Fire Rescue

Resources & Contact Us

For more information about Surrey Fire Regional Dispatch, email us at

Brochure for Surrey Fire Regional Dispatch