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  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Arizona
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    2

    Post Station Alerting problem and portable radios

    I need some feedback. Our current station alerting eqiupment is old and needs to be replaced. We are looking at this right now but budget problems are slowing the process. In the meantime I need to know what procedures your communications center and responders uses in the event that you lose your station alerting equipment. If you can answer any of these questions for me your input would be greatly appreciated.

    -What kind of fire station alerting equipment to you have?
    -What types of redundancies do you have for alerting (tones, pagers, rip and run printers, ring downs, etc)?
    -What is the back up procedure for notifying the stations if you lose your alerting equipment?
    -What changes do the crews in the station make, if any, during this time (monitoring portables, etc)?

    -Do your fire crews carry portable radios on them at all times (in quarters, out of quarters, day hours, night hours?)


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Miami Dade County, FL
    Posts
    23

    Default Alerting

    We use two tones on the dispatch channel. Tones come from a Zetron 25 connected to our CAD. Decoded by a Motorola CDM1250 base radio at each station. This triggers either a Federal or Valcom alerting system, depending on the station's age. I've published my design of the Valcom approach here before: http://rayvaughan.com/recall.htm

    Rip and Run isn't a back up, it's an addition. Less useful lately since we have computers in the truck. But we still make it available. I have an emergency kit in my van that lets me use the R&R as an alert. It's all off-the-shelf, portable and plug in. Basically, when the printer pulls power to start moving and printing, it triggers a relay that powers a loud electronic ringer. Actually works faster than the over the air approach.

    Backup: Each station has a standard phone line hotline with a few red phones around the station. This is the primary method after 22:00 and when there is a local or system-wide alerting system outage.

    I can also make an overhead page at all stations, individual, by division, or all 70 stations. This was basically a nice side effect from going to VoIP to all stations. The Overhead paging is also IP from HQ to the stations. I use the Valcom VIP800 but there is a newer much better version out now. I use this to announce a radio channel is down or a network outage.

    During an alerting system outage, everyone would keep their portables on and monitor the dispatch channel. Wakeful Watch. There's also a switch that be thrown that puts radio audio on the overhead paging speakers. There is also a radio remote at each officer dorm and the office.

    All crews carry their radios while on duty on next to them while sleeping. Unless there's a problem, the radio is off while they're in the station.

    Let me know if you need to know any details on any of this.

    Ray

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    virginia
    Posts
    537

    Default

    I do not know what kind of station alerting system we have. However, as a back up we still sit watches. The base radio on the watch desk is kept on and turned up at all times. whoever is on watch monitors the radio. if the station alert system fails to operate. The watchman turns the company out manually with the bells andd flips on the lights. Also in an event that the radio fails or the watchman misses the call. We have a analog ring down line from dispatch. If the company fails to respond after dispatch the ring down line starts to ring. This system has been in place long before radios and still works today. It is also cheap considering you are having budget problems

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    Sep 2007
    Location
    Miami Dade County, FL
    Posts
    23

    Default Hot Ring Down Lines

    Quote Originally Posted by RFD21C View Post
    If the company fails to respond after dispatch the ring down line starts to ring. This system has been in place long before radios and still works today. It is also cheap considering you are having budget problems
    A true Hot Ring Down line is VERY expensive in at&t territory. To see if you have one: If you pick up either and and the far end starts ringing instantly, you likely have a true expensive ring down. If you hear a dial tone and some fast beeps, you have a device that dials the far end for you. Same kind of functionality, but these work on standard phone lines. These are cheaper but the bad news is you can get a busy or 'all circuits busy'. That can't happen on a true hot ring down. The real ring down circuits are very expensive because they have to be literally engineered and wired up at every step along the way. Facilities that are usually shared between central offices have to instead be wired for a true hot ring down. Rates have been going up slowly for years. They're also analog, which in the telephone business is a lost art and usually problematic.

    Where I work, we have one hot ring down from 911 to the airport. About 5 miles and I think about $565 a month. There are a few situations where they still make sense but I could never justify the expense to each fire station.

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