1. #1
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    Default !Fire Station Alerting systems: What's new?

    Looking for information on the latest technology in fire station alerting. Our department has a lot of coin to spend on IT and low voltage systems for our new fire stations, and we want the BEST, most capable fire station alerting that they make today.

    If your department has built new stations lately, what systems have you installed and how are you using them?

    I've seen three or four major venders on the web that makes systems, and they include: Phoenix Station Alerting, ComTech and also Westnet, Inc. First-in system.

    Anyone using them, and how do they work? Any other systems out there I should consider?

    Our systems include (or will include):

    -Stations are currently linked via private dark fiber-optic network for LAN--possibly linked in the future via P2P wireless bridge, or P2MP wireless gateway.
    -Department is linked to regional dispatch center via secured IP VPN tunnel
    -Dispatch audio source for current station alerting is via coutywide 800 MHz radio
    -Station and crew alering is accomplished via alphanumeric paging system, which is private and owned/operated by regional dispatch center.
    -Station automation (lights, appliance control, PA control, alert chime/tone, etc) controled by alphanumeric, which receives messages from dispatch.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2008
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    Default

    I am also in the Seattle area (the Eastside). We are using the Locution dispatch and alerting software for alerting in the station and over the dispatch channel. It is supplemented by CAD activated pagers for a back up. It is quick and station alerting is great. It is pretty much trouble free now-but took a lot of work up front to get it right. It has cut alerting and turnout times dramaticaly.

    If a call #1 is going out on the dispatch radio channel, and other alarms are pending, it will dispatch those units in quarters prior to alarm #2 going out over the dispatch channel. They will already already be heading out by the time it hits the dispatch channel.

    It also simultaneously alerts everybody on multi unit response, a great improvement over our old tone system.

    Private message me if you would like, we can talk and I can give you more info.

  3. #3
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    Default

    We are in the market also and have been researching this heavily. We don't have the excess money to throw at it so we are being very selective.

    Comtech and The Phoenix G2 system (aka: USDD) are both great systems. WestNet is good but pricey and I have heard a lot of people say that it worked well initially but they ended up replacing it later.

    ComTech and USDD are also great to work with. Not pushy and very agreeable when it comes to trying new options with the systems to really meet your agency's needs.

    If you are looking for the the automatic dispatching portion that uses an automated voice to disaptch Locution, USDD and WestNet all offer something in this area. Locution's system is good but pricey and upgrades can be a pain. USDD is reasonably priced and more user friendly. Westnet's is very basic and their whole system is on the pricey side.

    Our operations and ITS folks and surpisingly the dispatch folks all seem to be agreeing on USDD (because we want the auto dispatch option) or ComTech without it.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    2

    Smile First-In Alerting

    Everybody I know that uses the Westnet (First-In) system loves it, from guys on the floor to the comm/dispatch people. I've never heard of it being replaced. I know Locution has been taken out of some departments and replaced it with First-In. If we were in the market for fire station alerting, there is no doubt we would want First-In. Good luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZFireSup View Post
    We are in the market also and have been researching this heavily. We don't have the excess money to throw at it so we are being very selective.

    Comtech and The Phoenix G2 system (aka: USDD) are both great systems. WestNet is good but pricey and I have heard a lot of people say that it worked well initially but they ended up replacing it later.

    ComTech and USDD are also great to work with. Not pushy and very agreeable when it comes to trying new options with the systems to really meet your agency's needs.

    If you are looking for the the automatic dispatching portion that uses an automated voice to disaptch Locution, USDD and WestNet all offer something in this area. Locution's system is good but pricey and upgrades can be a pain. USDD is reasonably priced and more user friendly. Westnet's is very basic and their whole system is on the pricey side.

    Our operations and ITS folks and surpisingly the dispatch folks all seem to be agreeing on USDD (because we want the auto dispatch option) or ComTech without it.

  5. #5
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    Our department has investaged all three, and engaged US Digital Designs and Westnet. Comtech seemed like that had little interest, and their rep. was not very good at returning phone calls and emails.

    Westnet seemed very good at first, providing us with great information about their product and what it could do, and how it could integrate with existing alerting devices and protocols. However, when it came down to actually getting us budgetary information and schematic design information in a timely manner--they failed. Just this last week, I had to email the main person at Westnet and inform them that they are no longer in contention as a vendor. We have 2-3 new stations that are being built, and they couldn't even return phone calls or emails. I was very disappointed, as their product and system seemed great.

    US Digital Designs faired better, however there were also difficulties in getting consistant correspondance from the sales rep and engineers. Ultimately though, they delivered on their budgetary quote. I really like their system as well, however I have concerns about how good their service is going to be, considering they're in AZ and our department is in WA State.

    We are looking at a local outfil, that has a similar system. So we will see what they have to offer.

    One thing I've discovered, is that if you're not a moderately big/big department, then these companies seem less likely to work with you. I guess they think it's not worth their time to evaulate your needs and help you come up with a plan.

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