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  1. #1
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    Default Fireground radio channels

    I would like to hear from everyone to find out how many different ways there are for communicating between the fireground or incident and the dispatcher. In other words who goes to a tactical channel, that is short range and cannot be heard by the dispatch? How do you communicate with the dispatch? Who stays on the dispatch channel and operates on the dispatch channel? please include the type of radio system you have, size of department, and size of dispatch center


  2. #2
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    Here are the stats:

    25 Call takers
    15 Police dispatchers
    10 Fire Dispatchers
    12 EMS dispatchers
    2 Float supervisors

    Motorola 800 Mhz digital trunked, repeated system. All radios are minimum XTS 2500. We have 6 fire regions, 10 fire events and 6 firegrounds. Plenty of DHS and state police and 3 EMS channels (inter unit, dispatch, unit-dispatch) only the firegrounds are line of sight. Every member on scene has a radio.

    All county companies are volunteer with anywhere from 30-75 members. The typical company has 4 trucks (always an engine or quint, some with squads, some with rescues some with ladders, some with hazmat, some with all) All companies are independent. There are 96 companies in the county and 45 EMS companies.

    On large jobs or rescues we operate on a dedicated, monitored event channel. Everyone uses this channel for this job and you have a dedicated dispatcher. For small stuff like car fires and AFAs we use firegrounds. For calls where little communication is needed, we use the region channel. There are 15 companies to a region.

    For big events, every radio is monitored and recorded for safety purposes. Our emergency identifiers will not work on fireground channels.

    For events in excess of 2 alarms or when Special operations are needed, we will get two dispatchers at the scene in one of the county's mobile dispatch centers.
    Last edited by charlie82; 06-03-2009 at 12:45 PM.

  3. #3
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    Don't know the size of dispatch, but we have a Motorola 800 MHz trunked system. We have a dispatch channel and 3 tac channels. All three are monitored in the control center and we may or may not have a dispatcher depending on the manpower available and workload. Dispatchers work both fire adn police sides. The only time we might use a channel that is not monitored is for training.

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    25 member town volunteer dept. Town is 30sq miles with 850 people. Dispatch center handles most of the county which would be about 25 towns. Radios are VHF high (150-160MHz FM). My town has its own frequency and repeater, which are used by the dept for Fire/Medical, as well as the town highway dept and police.

    Our fireground channel is the output frequency of the repeater, so we can still hear anything that comes over the repeater including dispatch which is in the next town.

    Not sure on the staffing of the dispatch center. I believe they always have 2 people on duty, one taking 911 calls and one dispatching.

    Dispatch can hear anything that goes over the repeater, and can hear the 50-100W radios in the apparatus directly, depending on where they are in town. Handhelds are 5W and can reach the repeater from most parts of town. No cell service in 75% of the town.

    Most other towns share a county dispatch frequency which has multiple repeaters across the county. They usually have a fireground channel which is separate from this frequency.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber LVFD301's Avatar
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    Command has a radio tuned to the dispatch channel, and a radio tuned to the fireground channel. We use a totally seperate channel from dispatch, non-repeatered, analog, in order to meet NFPA standards.

    Using the output channel of the repeater is fraught with issues, including dispatch for another fire possibly covering up a mayday on talk around.

    using a talkgroup on a trunking system depends on the infrasctructure of the
    trunking system, not a good idea in a major incident.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    Command has a radio tuned to the dispatch channel, and a radio tuned to the fireground channel. We use a totally seperate channel from dispatch, non-repeatered, analog, in order to meet NFPA standards.

    Using the output channel of the repeater is fraught with issues, including dispatch for another fire possibly covering up a mayday on talk around.

    using a talkgroup on a trunking system depends on the infrasctructure of the
    trunking system, not a good idea in a major incident.
    Could you please cite the NFPA standards section you are refering to
    Can we talk more privately?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie82 View Post
    Here are the stats:

    25 Call takers
    15 Police dispatchers
    10 Fire Dispatchers
    12 EMS dispatchers
    2 Float supervisors

    Motorola 800 Mhz digital trunked, repeated system. All radios are minimum XTS 2500. We have 6 fire regions, 10 fire events and 6 firegrounds. Plenty of DHS and state police and 3 EMS channels (inter unit, dispatch, unit-dispatch) only the firegrounds are line of sight. Every member on scene has a radio.

    All county companies are volunteer with anywhere from 30-75 members. The typical company has 4 trucks (always an engine or quint, some with squads, some with rescues some with ladders, some with hazmat, some with all) All companies are independent. There are 96 companies in the county and 45 EMS companies.

    On large jobs or rescues we operate on a dedicated, monitored event channel. Everyone uses this channel for this job and you have a dedicated dispatcher. For small stuff like car fires and AFAs we use firegrounds. For calls where little communication is needed, we use the region channel. There are 15 companies to a region.

    For big events, every radio is monitored and recorded for safety purposes. Our emergency identifiers will not work on fireground channels.

    For events in excess of 2 alarms or when Special operations are needed, we will get two dispatchers at the scene in one of the county's mobile dispatch centers.
    Sounds Like Montgomery County Pa, Home of the Pack Walkers

  8. #8

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    2 Dispatches for Countywide Fire
    Countywide EMS Dispatched by Little Rock, 40 miles away.
    Paging dispatch is on high band radio.
    County is on 800 digital for response.
    Countywide high band is on one dedicated channel that only the dispatch can talk on. Units are giving a TAC Frequency from Fire 1-5 on the page. EMS Works the same way with Rescue Main and Rescue TAC.
    Only the first due station will respond on the TAC Freq. All other units will stay on Fire Dispatch until they arrive on scene. Then switch to the assigned TAC.
    Stations also have their own radio channel for unit to unit talk, training, other.
    We also have Countywide HAZ/MAT Channel, EMS and MCI Channels.
    Are radios works anywhere in the state and have been tested at 250 miles from main dispatch (Part of Statewide Radio System)
    Works good for use.

  9. #9
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    Pack Walkers?

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber LVFD301's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeltaCreek View Post
    Could you please cite the NFPA standards section you are refering to
    Can we talk more privately?
    It wont let me send you an email through the board, drop me a line at bbowers@mozarks.com

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    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    22 telecommunicators dispatching for 18 different agencies on 22 different radio frequencies for a countywide population of 110,000 residents. Radios are 148-162mhz, some repeated and some not.

    We have 5 cities/towns/villages in the county, one city has about 68,000 people with a college population flux of about 6,000. Another city has 8500 people, another has 1600 people, one town has 500 people and one has about 1200. Only one city in the county is a full time fire department with 95 firefighters working out of 6 stations who cover about half of the county area for ambulance as well. Our countywide and multi-county mutual aid is fantastic in this area by the way.

    How we do it here is that the incident commander makes the decision to switch their operation to a non-repeated fireground channel. Then, the IC will listen to both the fireground and the dispatch channel. The dispatch center can monitor the full time department fireground channel but that is it. We have been given several fireground/mutual aid frequencies by the State Emergency Management in the past 5 years. This gives departments a wide choice of fireground frequencies to choose from if there are multiple incidents going on. In all cases, the agency IC communicates with dispatch on their main dispatch frequency.
    Jason Knecht
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    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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  12. #12
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    PD does dispatching for local LEO, EMS, and Fire. MOST times, 1 dispatcher on duty. We work off repeater and non-repeater fire ground channels. Very little communication back and forth with dispatch (basically "we're on scene", request an outside resource, we're done with call type of stuff).
    "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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    We are dispatched through a large central dispatch center. http://www.ducomm.org/
    We are dispatched on a local frequency 154.415 once on the scene with multiple companies we switch to a fireground channel, assigned by dispatch. They are designated by colors: fireground Red, white, blue, black, gold, grey
    A larger incident IC to dispatch switches to a regional frequency (IFERN) so we don't disturb the surrounding towns.
    We also have a few more frequencies for disaster mode.

  14. #14
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    It's an enormous cluster**** of low-band VHF, high-band VHF, UHF, digital trunked, and Nextel.

  15. #15
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    Default Crawford County, Ohio

    City/paid departments operate separately from rural/volunteer departments, which is a shame. All three of them have their own systems which, again, is a shame. The rural departments are dispatched on main countywide fire frequency, all units respond to page and mark on scene on separate repeater frequency, then all units are to automatically switch to one of four available TAC frequencies. Some departments, however, forget to switch to a TAC and broadcast everything on the repeater frequency, thus defeating the whole purpose of multiple channels.

  16. #16
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    All of the fire departments in our county, except for one, are dispatched on the same channel. We use VHF, no repeaters on any of the channels. On small fires we normally remain on Ch. 1. If needed or on a large fire, we will go to one of the county tactical channels. All countywide channels are monitored by dispatch. We also have a private channel which is used only by our department, which is repeated.

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    Central Jersey small town, No county dispatch here every town has their own dispatch center no matter how big or small, however some have consolidated. 1-2 dispatchers for our town doing fire, ems, and PD 2 square mile town about 8000 residents, fire is dispatched on a low band frequency. Then fire and EMS both share a 500 trunked repeated channel to talk to dispatch, then on the fire ground we switch to a 458.00 non repeated line of sight freq. for fireground opperations. PD is on their own seperate channel in town. For larger scale incidents there are county fire coordinators which are called in after 4 or more mutual aid fire agencies are called in. Who will now use a county wide freq. that is repeated to coordinate the response of any additional resources. They play a vital role as they show up with a database of every vehicle registered in the county and bordering counties with equipment lists and such to aid the IC in calling any extra resources. For extremely large incidents they have a county mobil command center which has dispatch stations and every freq the state uses.

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