1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default OTS GPS units in Fire Apparatus

    I am curious. Does anyone out there use a standard "Off the shelf" GPS unit in their dept? Specifically I am looking for info on locating hydrant data, and its value in response times. I don't see a way to quickly input the data.

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Miami Dade County, FL

    Default Nuvi

    I've been using a Garmin Nuvi 350 in my department light fleet vehicle for about a year. With the Garmin software, I was able to load the locations from my database. For other telecom uses, I have a database that has the coordinates of every department building as found on google maps. It took an evening, but I was able to import this data into the GPS, every fire station we have (73), radio sites, and other local department stations. A few key strokes on the GPS (while at a red light) and I have talking directions to the station. In a few cases it has opened my eyes to some short cuts I hadn't thought of.

    Every hydrant.... I doubt if there would be enough memory, but definitely worth looking into. Remember that a typical GPS assumes you're looking for a building, so it will tell you 'arrival' when you may still be a few hundred feet away. Don't expect it to help you find a hidden hydrant. Also, before you buy, zoom all the way in and see if you have the detail needed to find hydrants.

    If you do load GPS points, consider classifying them... stations, hospitals, other department stations, and so on. That way, when you pick a type, you will see distance and bearing to the close ones. You don't want to clutter the screen with fire stations when you need to get to a hospital.


  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Northern CA USA


    We have OTS GPS units (older Garmins) in our engines; very useful for a) giving lat/long to a helo for medevac, and b) street maps when we're out of district on strike teams..

    My own GPS60CSx could work nicely for the hydrant marking; there are 1000 waypoints, two-button waypoint marking and 3 button waypoint search. Alternatively you can input the lat/long into a spreadsheet and download that to the unit, with basically unlimited quantity. Quite a bit of labor either way though...

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Ambrose33's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010


    We also use Garmins. I find them the most user friendly
    Stay safe!

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