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Many fire departments are going to an individual dormitory sleeping quarters system when building new stations and the system is so sophisticated that it can alert individual firefighters to calls rather than waking up everyone in the station, McGeorge said. “It’s good where the medics and the firefighters are housed together,” McGeorge said. “Eighty to 85 percent, or more, of the calls these days are for medics, so there’s no reason to wake up the firefighters too and have them experience that adrenaline pump when they don’t need to.”
The number-one cause of firefighter deaths is heart attacks, so there is no need to startle firefighters in the station. Westnet’s system is gentler with red lights instead of white lights at night. Another feature is the system sends the call to an LCD screen for firefighters to instantly see the call information, cutting response times, McGeorge said. The system also works as a public address system, eliminating the need for redundant speakers through the station, she said. Westnet will work with individual stations and firefighters to make sure they get what they need, McGeorge said.
“Unless you’ve pulled up a pair of bunker pants and gotten ready for a response, there’s no way you can know what responders need,” she said, noting that the business, founded by and run by firefighters, installed its first system 19 years ago. “We work with departments large and small to get them what they need.”