A key feature of civil safety is the ability to respond to unwanted incidents. The first link in the response chain is usually the emergency call centers, and the purpose of this study was to investigate the work at an emergency call center in connection with large scale incidents. The delivery of the study is two-fold: firstly, a bottom-up analysis was performed in order to outline work at the emergency call center during large scale incidents. This approach resulted in a content model depicting the features of work during large scale incidents. Secondly, a theory driven top-down analysis was performed based on the same data in order to investigate whether a resilience perspective on safety is an appropriate framework for work at the emergency call center during large scale incidents. The data consisted of emergency call center operators’ reflections around their own work during large scale incidents, and was gathered through semi-structured interviews. Statistical comparisons between the resilience model and the content model revealed that the former was not able to account for all the statements captured in the content model, and hence it does not provide a complete framework for understanding work at the emergency call center during large scale incidents. This study provides insight to a field that has received little attention from previous research and contributes to a better understanding of the role emergency call centers play with regard to emergency management and hence to civil safety.