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Thread: Why?

  1. #1
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    Default Why?

    Ok...I dispatch for a mostly rural, but growing community. We moved into a new 911 dispatch center a few years ago. Now, all of the chiefs have gotten together, and are wanting us to dispatch individual trucks and ambulances on calls. (IE...Medic 51, rescue 45, engine 41, squad 31, tanker 64, etc. etc.) My question is this...Why? I know it may sound cool in the big metro, but we have 3 paid departments, one combination department, and 5 volunteer services. As a volunteer firefighter/emt myself, my feeling is that I have enough training to know what truck I want to take on a call, and that may vary from what dispatch tells us depending on different circumstances. We may get called for a tanker, and if enough people show up at our station, we will roll an engine and a tanker. The engine has 2000 gallons and is quicker on its feet than our 3000 gallon tanker. Our dispatch will call us out on the radio saying that we only need a tanker only. Anyways, what is the big push for this? I have no problems dispatching medic 2 and washington township fire on an MVA or a structure fire. Hell, buy the time I say each individual apparatus, the building would be burned to the ground after I dispatched the calvary individually. Sorry for rambling. What are your thoughts on this?


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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Sounds like too much free lancing.

    Your asked for a specific vehicle by the IC. And then you bring what you want?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    I agree with Bones, why are you making decisions aside from what the IC has requested? Surely he knows the capabilities of his surrounding departments, and if he needed an engine and tanker from your organization, he would have requested that, not just the tanker.

    Aside from that, I would bet that the chiefs have decided that they want "X" number of engines, "X" number of tankers, etc on a call. By dispatching them individually, they can know that the right number of resources are on the road. If all departments just take whatever they want whenever they want, it can make for a very unbalanced response.
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    MembersZone Subscriber EFD840's Avatar
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    What bones said.

    If the man wants a tanker, give him a tanker. If he wanted your engine, he would have asked for it.

    Around here, the type of resource needed may or may not be specified. If the IC requesting assistance doesn't ask, we send what would be our first out units for the type of call. If he asks for a specific resource, that's what he gets.

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    The earlier posters summed it up pretty good. We are dispatched by station and unit type. If an engine is requested, you can choose which engine you take if the department has multiple engines. If a tanker or truck is requested, that's what you take.

    The only flexability is that we can take a brush truck in place of an engine for brush fires or trees down and we can take a utility vehicle on medical manpower calls.

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    Thanks for the replies. I guess maybe I didn't clarify, but where I volunteer, we are just dispatched by station number. The one example I used with the tanker was this...One engine doubles as a tanker. So why not take 2? The chief of the dept we were assisting had no issues with it. Matter of fact, he thanked us for bringing the extra water. Anywho, I understand what you all are saying. So at my fulltime job, when I am dispatching, and I dispatch certain apparatus, and they take something else, do I let it go, or call them out? J/k. Thanks again guys!!!

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    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick1221 View Post
    So at my fulltime job, when I am dispatching, and I dispatch certain apparatus, and they take something else, do I let it go, or call them out? J/k. Thanks again guys!!!
    Our dispatchers (both at work at the VFD) wouldn't hesitate to call us out on it!

    Now, this can be done as diplomatically as you want. Simply asking, "Tanker XX, verify you copy that the request was for Engine XX only?" might be one way to do it. That puts the liability back on the OIC of the responding apparatus, and it shows that you tried to follow the direction of the county chiefs.
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    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    As a chief, let me throw another little twist into this for you. I don't know what kind of rating sytem you use in Indiana (I assume I.S.O. or something similar). In Louisiana it's PIAL (Property Insurance Association of Louisiana), which uses rating schedules similar to I.S.O. Now, for rating purposes it may be very important which units respond to certain calls. For example, for maximum rating credit we are supposed to roll two engines and a service truck on all reported structure fires (this includes automatic alarms, smoke investigations, etc.). Also, if the fire is in an outlying area covered by our two substations, then one of those engines is "supposed" to be one of the engines responding (doesn't always work that way, sometimes you get both engines from the main station). Long story short, when it comes time for rating they're going to look at your response statistics and question why you either a) didn't send enough units, b) sent the wrong units, or c) sent too many units. Sending too many units doesn't sound like a bad idea, but it hurts the calculation on your rating, i.e., "X" number of engines requires "Y" number of firefighters, therefore you can hurt your manpower numbers if you consistently send more units than are called for. If any additional units respond, they'd better be considered part of a second alarm and not part of the initial response.

    I know this has been a little long-winded, but it's a good example of why some chiefs request dispatch by specific units. In our case, I would like to be dispatched this way, but we are dispatched by the sheriff's office, not a fire dispatch, and we really have no control over it. May change in the future, but for now we take what we get.
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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    One engine doubles as a tanker. So why not take 2?
    Here is another thought. When you take those 2 instead of the requested 1.....who is now covering your area?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Our area recently switched to a version of unit-specific dispatching and one of the reasons was dealing with the large number of responding apparatus.

    Previously, a structure fire may have gotten dispatched as Stations A (2 engines and a squad available), B (2 engines and truck available), and C (truck and air unit available). 60% of the time, you might only get engine A1, engine B1, and Truck C. The other 40%, you could get every unit responding - now the IC has to deal with 8 units all calling up on the radio and figure out where to stage them all - that's overhead that the IC doesn't really need or want.

    So, now the dispatch indicates the requested apparatus from each station. That keeps the radio traffic down, keeps the scene from filling up with too many vehicles, and (possibly even more importantly) keeps the number Code 3 responses down which makes everyone safer.

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    As a Dispatcher and 20 year call firefighter I will say your firefighting experience can come in very handy working an incident. But you need to follow the SOG, Policies etc that are set up by your employing agency. Providing input to your higher ups at the comm center about any change in policy, as long as it is done professionally, should be a welcome thing. Being someone who can look at it from both sides can be very helpful for policy makers. Most Chiefs and Comm Center Directors do not see the other side of the coin.

    If you can show a valid reason for not accepting the proposed changes then so be it. If you cannot then thats it. My experience is that the Chief/Chiefs involved will be open to the idea as long as it is done correctly. Also a lot relies on the training and guidleines at the local company level. An example is that the company/station has a rule that Engine 1 is first out on all medicals and MVA's, Engine 2 is first out for fires etc. The Chiefs and local company officers need to adhere to the rules and ensure that the members follow them also. In that sense simply stating the station ID and the EMS ID in the dispatch should be enough. Let the local officers do the enforcing. You should always be professional in your actions over the radio. You can confirm etc what was requested vs what is going but anything more generally is not your job.

    Simply my opinion.

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