1. #1
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    Default GPS units in appartus

    Is anyone using a GPS unit like Tom Tom or Garmin in there apparatus. We have a few computers with mapping that are in use but it is expensive to purchase, the computers that is. I was wondering if anyone is using a large screen gps unit, 5 to 7 inchs and if you can put in hydrant locations with a symbol. It would be nice if you could do one unit and download to other units. Any feedback would be appreciated.

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    We use MDTs here, but some still prefer to use a tom tom (mostly ambulances). You could place hydrants in as points of interest.

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    It's cheaper and easier to just learn your territory.
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    It's cheaper and easier to just learn your territory.

    but electronics are so cool and make everything better.



    I agree, its better to go without. The driver needs to learn the district. An intelligent driver always beats a GPS.

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    I've used them in the Chief's car.

    Problem is they take a little while to warm up and acquire sat's.

    I usually had an idea what part of town (we cover just about 30 square miles), but relied on it to get me to the front door.

    Also good for mutual aid runs.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    Actually there are systems out there that will allow you to put pre-plans, water sources, landing zones, and all kinds of Geographical information on them. I don't recall the name right now but a company in PA, makes such a product. You can in fact add he GPS capability so you know where your apparatus are. Nice thing is you could put a printer in the truck and hand the person their fire report right then and there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    It's cheaper and easier to just learn your territory.
    Not a real issue in your own area, its when you get called out for mutual aid that it becomes really nice.

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    I've had issues with GPS units for use in emergency vehicles. Even with updated maps, the locations can be off by quite a bit. I was responding to a brush fire and the address was off by enough that it tried to have me make a left turn onto the street instead of a right. This was with recently updated maps. In my opinion, they are OK for getting you close, but I wouldn't trust them to pick up the right hydrant location for a given address.

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    We've been using them for a couple of years now. I can't speak for how the other guys use them, but unless I'm responding out of the area and unfamiliar with the location I don't use it for "directions".

    What I have found to be very useful is the display that just shows where you are and what's around you. We have a large number of missing street signs in the middle parts of our city - repeatedly stolen and no longer being replaced. The GPS units helps a lot with identifying which streets are which when the street layouts aren't nice, neat square blocks and the signs are missing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    It's cheaper and easier to just learn your territory.
    I know my territory but we cover 5 counties with our mass casualty truck. Im sorry but there is no way I am going to learn over 100 square miles of territory.

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    We have MDTs with a CAD mapping program. The private ambulances use TomToms and they miss the location about 20% of the time.

    Knowing the area is important, but not feasible based on our circumstances. Our running areas are large, our subdivisions are circular and have dozens of named 3 house dead end cul de sacs, and we bounce around between companies so much it is near impossible to keep up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    It's cheaper and easier to just learn your territory.
    That doesnt necessarily help you when its 2am and your heading to a structure fire 4 towns over. We have a GPS unit in our engine but not the tanker. For the most part the tanker is a follow truck. Although in some situations Dispatch will give us road names that are wrong and have since been changed or give us names of roads that are actually driveways. Just the other day they dispatched us to a road called old river ln. In our town we have a road called old river road, and we had thought it was there. We called in to dispatch to confirm, and we were wrong, the road old river ln is actually the last 100ft of a dead end road leading to a driveway. the other half mile of road is called the faunce rd, and the end is old river ln. why it comes up that way at dispatch is beyond me.

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    We have them in our m/a engine and we are getting them for the ambulance again for m/a run. I know my back yard but not everyone else's.

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    Our county wide ambulance was using them and quite often it would lead them to the wrong place. Nothing like waiting for them to get there and they bail out and say sorry our GPS sent us to the wrong place. We still use the trusty old map book. If a street is not in the book our dispatch will tell us where it is at.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zackman1801 View Post
    That doesnt necessarily help you when its 2am and your heading to a structure fire 4 towns over.
    True, but is the 4th town over YOUR territory?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    True, but is the 4th town over YOUR territory?
    Nope, but if i have to go there it would be nice to know how to get there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zackman1801 View Post
    Nope, but if i have to go there it would be nice to know how to get there.
    Agreed, just pointing out that you probably took his point farther than it was intended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    Agreed, just pointing out that you probably took his point farther than it was intended.
    Indeed.

    How about this: From my perspective, it is better to just learn the territory. There are very few runs that I go on in my "running territory" that I do not have a pretty darn good idea of exactly where we are going. This includes our 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in territory and I try to know more than that. Compared to some departments this may not be a very large area, but it is pretty dense and populated.

    For those deparments that provide a lot of mutual aid, I can see the use of a GPS.

    I guess what I cam getting at is if your gonna use it, use it to supplement your learning, not to do away with your learning.

    Our guys gets detailed in to ride ambulances and they often get sent across town, so they are supplied with department GPS's. Point being, the ambulances many times (more than should be considered acceptable) go wrong or take the long way around because they are relying on the GPS instead of knowing or looking up where they are going in our map books.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Default Map books!!

    Which brings up another point. Many GPS programs do not have private drives that are located in apartments and the like.

    Everywhere I have ever worked, I have made my own map book with spit numbers and apartment maps. Better than any GPS I have ever used.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Which brings up another point. Many GPS programs do not have private drives that are located in apartments and the like.

    Everywhere I have ever worked, I have made my own map book with spit numbers and apartment maps. Better than any GPS I have ever used.
    I actually took google aerial images of the apartment complexes and used photoshop to put in the the street names, hydrant locations and building numbers. Printed them up in color, laminated them and put them on a big split ring.

    I was Chief a month and it paid off. Found the building, and the nearest hydrant was in a semi-hidden location, up a neighboring driveway. I was able to direct the engine right to it.

    .
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 11-23-2009 at 11:10 PM.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Vanity addresses are also a problem gps usually doesn't help with.

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zackman1801 View Post
    That doesnt necessarily help you when its 2am and your heading to a structure fire 4 towns over.
    True, but is the 4th town over YOUR territory?
    True enough ...... we "could be" over 4 towns, in to a whole 'nother state with extraction equipment. Not our first due but any kinds of serious entanglement we would have gone.

    Years ago now ..... but we had a lot of coverage.

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    If you are going out of your primary use a map book. You should know enough to get you into the area, which gives someone else time to look it up. The map books are a lot more accurate than these GPS units.

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    You can have your maps in a run book and your computer. They can be linked so you can point and click to the box/grid whatever you call them in your area. They can be updated anytime. Gps maps are updated what every 2-3 years. You can also have your pre-plans at your finger tips. Good pre-plans can help your iso rating. Want to know more send an email

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    I actually took google aerial images of the apartment complexes and used photoshop to put in the the street names, hydrant locations and building numbers. Printed them up in color, laminated them and put them on a big split ring.

    I was Chief a month and it paid off. Found the building, and the nearest hydrant was in a semi-hidden location, up a neighboring driveway. I was able to direct the engine right to it.

    .
    Did the first due company know about the hydrant? If they did not they need their hide chewed since they did not know their area.

    As for the original subject: We use GPS for our AVL for MDT dispatch. Like all GPS's it takes the easy way, which may not be the fastest way. We discovered that one-way streets were a pain. It would route you the "legal" way all the way around the block versus the lights and sirens way against traffic on the smaller blocks. Our district chief vehicles and our ambulances have garmins. Most of the time the MDT gets it close.

    The other issue is all companies coming from the same direction due to GPS. A back way in might be better if you are a later due company.

    Like Memphis said know your district.

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