1. #1
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    Default Sheriffs Department Controlled Dispatch

    Our department has a serious issue with dispatching. The Sheriffs Dept took over dispatch and since the quality of dispatchers has gone to hell. Not to mention, a deputy is being dispatched to EVERY ONE of our calls. The big problem isn't having them there, its the fact that they are delaying dispatching us to dispatch them first.

    The other day on a MVC me and a deputy were talking and I heard a unresponsive child call go out over his portable. I quickly switched my portable to scan all channels and TWO MINUTES later station 2 got banged out for that unresponsive child call. TWO MINUTES! WTF is a Deputy being dispatched gonna do for that child.

    Upon further investigation, Our Chiefs know about this problem and say they have addressed the issue, but it still continues. We all know in our line of work, minutes count. What the hell do we do? Im just a line guy but it burns my arse to see such blatant disregard for the public simply for political gain?

    Anyone experience this kind of problem? Any suggestions?

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    Sounds like the chief needs to do daily complaints and until resolved have one radio on the sheriff channel

    Also document when it happens and pass it up

    Maybe find out why the sheriffs want to play ff and emt and take them out of being dispatched
    Last edited by fire49; 12-29-2013 at 05:01 PM.

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    My partner heard the Sheriff on a local country station boasting how his deputies get on scene before the fire department and how getting AED's on all of the SHERIFFS vehicles will save lives. What would save lives is him hiring dispatchers that can count to eleven without taking a shoe off and dispatching appropriate units to calls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firedan525 View Post
    ...WTF is a Deputy being dispatched gonna do for that child...
    Well, in my area, just about all LEO's are trained and certified EMT's. So them being sent first will get someone helping the child in a matter of seconds instead of waiting for the vol EMS agency to be paged, respond to building, then respond to scene.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Well, in my area, just about all LEO's are trained and certified EMT's. So them being sent first will get someone helping the child in a matter of seconds instead of waiting for the vol EMS agency to be paged, respond to building, then respond to scene.
    Having them sent is fine. Having them sent FIRST makes no sense. OP mentioned a full two minute delay in having FD even notified.

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    To clarify, We are paid full time Fire/Rescue. The Deputies responding have no EMS training outside first aid. The problem is that everyday calls come in and our response is purposely delayed so that the Sheriffs Office can dispatch a LEO to the scene first.

    Now this will really **** you all off. Dispatch took a call for possible MVC on a highway close to a campground around mid afternoon. Dispatch at this time tones LEO for response. Caller stated that he heard a terrible crash but had no visual. Caller stated he was running down to see and stayed on phone. Caller finally gets to crash scene and states there are injuries, send Fire/Rescue. 7 minutes after LEO was toned, then we get toned! THERE WAS 5 PATIENTS, ONE BEING A 12 year Old WHOM HAD HIS RIGHT ARM RIPPED OFF AT HIS SHOULDER. After a 2 minute response we arrived on scene 9 minutes after first 911 call being placed. The kid coded on us enroute and we couldn't get him back.

    These are the reasons for this thread.

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    No wonder you're p*ssed off!!!!

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    Someone needs to monitor constantly and document all Leo dispatches prior to fire

    And once done get higher higher ups involved

    Or quietly drop a dime to the media , they always need a story

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    Our county dispatch handles the sheriff's patrols, state police, city police, city fire, and all county fire and EMS agencies. Normal staffing is four.

    It was under the management of the sheriff for a while, now it's under the emergency management office.

    We've never had a turf issue such as you've mentioned.

    The dispatch positions are usually fire/EMS (both the city and county), the city police, and the sheriff (and SP). The usual thing is to have fire and LE being dispatched simultaneously. Any differences are usually due to other incidents on one desk or the other. One dispatcher is usually designated the primary 9-1-1 call taker, but any of the desks can take a call. All dispatchers are qualified on all positions.

    If a dispatcher is busy another desk can, and will, take up the slack.

    As a rule, LE is only dispatched on EMS for potentially violent stuff (OD's, suicide, etc) and possible death (ie, reported full arrest). The patrols will usually be notified of a fire event that doesn't otherwise involve them, and may or may not respond.

    I do recall speaking (probably 30 years ago now) to a deputy once in Illinois who was waiting for a slow train at a railroad crossing. He said that a fire had been reported, but that the FD wouldn't be dispatched until he got on scene...

    Which isn't much better than a fire chief who recently disregarded all reports of a working fire, as well as the fact that his own department had not yet turned a wheel, to make a determination once he arrived on scene. As I understand it, he essentially refused to take the advice of dispatch and call for mutual aid until he got on scene...

    Sounds like it's time for FD management to sit down with LE management and hammer out some form of protocols. It might also be time to take a look at the intermunicipal agreement that brought this problem on in the first place. There are plenty of nationally recognized standards for dispatch, and including the appropriate attorneys in such a discussion might have amazing results once the sheriff finds out what his potential liability is for not doing dispatch right.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    It is a Chief issue. If nothing gets done, DOCUMENT, RECORD, and hand it to the media. But complain often to your Chief first.

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    It also sounds like the Sheriff's department may be trying to get their run numbers up to justify the number of officers on patrol. In our county, there are not enough officers to cover the calls they have. We are sometimes waiting for quite a while to get officers on scene of an MVA. I understand why you are mad, but the Chief needs to be the one who stands up and makes the issue known.

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    I started on my Fire Dept. 12 years ago, when we had 1 station for 667 square miles. We had six firefighters per shift and we also handled all the local interfaculty transports for the hospital. We also got on average of one to three working fires per shift, many fought with just four of us. Since this period of time we have only increased our budget by about a 2 million, but we have phased in all new equipment, new trucks, bought a ladder truck, have 3 stations and increased manning to 13 across all three stations. We were being dispatched by the county to our north and had absolutely no problems. OH and the Sheriffs Office had 4 deputies on the road per shift.

    Just before our dispatch was moved back locally, our sheriff had a meeting with the sheriff that controlled our dispatch at the time and told him to tell our County manager that they could not handle dispatching us anymore. Soon after we were dropped and they took it over. They got a nice fat increase in their budget because of this. OH in the last 12 years they have increased their budget 6.5 million dollars and still only have 4 deputies per shift. Huge increase in budget and no more protection. The upper ranks got a massive boost in their salaries.

    I am going to take the advice to start documenting calls. It will be rather easy because we are on the same CAD system as LEO. I'll pass it up but if I don't see any resolution I will pass it to the investigative news crew. I only worry that It may come back to me.
    Last edited by firedan525; 12-30-2013 at 01:33 PM.

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    We have this problem were LEO gets info before we do as well and it happened again two days ago. We're on a call, PD was there and came up to me stating we're going to get a call. He told me what and where. It was another two minutes and then we get toned out. I told my Chief about it that night that this is still happening. He's going to bring it up yet again.

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    A very easy solution is to simulcast all Fire EMS calls on both the sheriffs primary and the fire primary frequencies. Something that has been done for over a decade in many places.

    Sounds like a turf war between agencies. Stop dropping your pants to see who's is bigger and work together to solve the problem.

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    In our county, the public safety trash of a sheriff's department that we have, controls the dispatching. You can be assured, that a dispatcher will be calling and getting a sheriff's deputy out of bed, before calling out the fire dept..

    We have alot of problems with our dispatch, but the county plays pontious pilate and the general public suffers. Our state statute has set the county straight on a few things. Had an area, that had an ambulance service, but was put in an ambulance response zone, where the area had to wait for an ambulance from 18 miles away. This area was only one mile from a city that provided the service. Seems that the ambulance service from 18 miles away wanted the county ambulance funding for that area. A new state staute came out, where the closest ambulance service has to respond, so that situation was resolved from the state.

    Our county dispatch has even refused to dispatch a city fire dept.. That later was straightened out. There still is one rural fire dept. that the county refuses to dispatch.

    A study was done on EMS services in our county. It was published on the web. We have very demoralized EMS providers (EMT's, etc.) because of politics. The Sheriff's dept. is part of it. Its not only fire services that are affected.

    Our sheriff likes to determine fire protection policy, when the city commissioners, fire district boards and such have that duty. Can't wait to point out where the ISO rating is higher, because of the problems with the sheriff's dispatching.

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    A very easy solution is to simulcast all Fire EMS calls on both the sheriffs primary and the fire primary frequencies. Something that has been done for over a decade in many places.

    Sounds like a turf war between agencies. Stop dropping your pants to see who's is bigger and work together to solve the problem.
    Not the case brother. Its about getting us going to calls as soon as possible. We have a great relationship with most SO Deputies. What I have a problem with is holding our calls for MINUTES to dispatch LEO to calls they are untrained, ill equipped, or just can't handle...LIKE HOUSE FIRES.

    P.S. We all knows who's is bigger!
    Last edited by firedan525; 01-02-2014 at 01:02 PM.

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    Well it happened again. I worked both New Years Eve, and New Years Day. We had 2 working structure fires, and two MVC's both with fatalities.

    The first MVC was called in as car fire. LEO was dispatched 2 full minutes before we got struck out. Upon arrival we had a fully involved truck on its top with young female burnt up inside. Later learned she was the 18 year old gas station attendant who gave us free drinks. Pretty sad.

    Soon after got toned to structure fire in garage. Toned out 2 full minutes after LEO. Saved house but sure glad they didn't wait any longer because it was just starting to get into house.

    Next day we had another structure fire. AGAIN toned 2 1/2 minutes AFTER LEO. House was fully involved upon arrival. From being toned to arrival was 2 minutes. The initial caller was a Boston Fire Fighter visiting his relatives. He stopped by our station later and talked with us for a while. He said he called 911 and reported fire as he was driving by and noticed tell tale column of smoke. He told us the fire appeared to be room and contents at time of call.

    See a pattern...

    I reported this to the Chief before going home and he said this is his priority so we will see. I have been logging all of these calls and writing all LEO dispatch times and our dispatch times down. I really for the safety of our citizens hope this changes.
    Last edited by firedan525; 01-02-2014 at 03:51 PM.

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    Dan hit it right on the head. It's not about ego's, it's about who is trained and who should be dispatched first. On the call I mentioned we had 4 people there (2) EMR's, (1) EMT and (1) Paramedic. The LEO who showed up does not even have a Basic First Aid cert and they won't even go for the CPR/AED cert unless they are paid. I've stated in other posts when we were shorthanded I've conscripted LEO's to do paperwork, hold pressure on wounds and even run get things for me. You know how hard it is to explain a suction machine to a cop


    Quote Originally Posted by firedan525 View Post
    Not the case brother. Its about getting us going to calls as soon as possible. We have a great relationship with most SO Deputies. What I have a problem with is holding our calls for MINUTES to dispatch LEO to calls they are untrained, ill equipped, or just can't handle...LIKE HOUSE FIRES.

    P.S. We all knows who's is bigger!

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    Quote Originally Posted by firedan525 View Post
    Well it happened again. I worked both New Years Eve, and New Years Day. We had 2 working structure fires, and two MVC's both with fatalities.

    The first MVC was called in as car fire. LEO was dispatched 2 full minutes before we got struck out. Upon arrival we had a fully involved truck on its top with young female burnt up inside. Later learned she was the 18 year old gas station attendant who gave us free drinks. Pretty sad.

    Soon after got toned to structure fire in garage. Toned out 2 full minutes after LEO. Saved house but sure glad they didn't wait any longer because it was just starting to get into house.

    Next day we had another structure fire. AGAIN toned 2 1/2 minutes AFTER LEO. House was fully involved upon arrival. From being toned to arrival was 2 minutes. The initial caller was a Boston Fire Fighter visiting his relatives. He stopped by our station later and talked with us for a while. He said he called 911 and reported fire as he was driving by and noticed tell tale column of smoke. He told us the fire appeared to be room and contents at time of call.

    See a pattern...

    I reported this to the Chief before going home and he said this is his priority so we will see. I have been logging all of these calls and writing all LEO dispatch times and our dispatch times down. I really for the safety of our citizens this changes.
    I agree it SHOULD be handled by the chief -unfortunately many chiefs care more about keeping their job, than doing what's right. I don't care for lawyers much , but when you have something like this that is black and white and wrong on all aspects. The only way that a turf war can be permanently settled is by the guys in suits. sad but true
    ?

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    Until the fire chief sits down face-to-face with the sheriff, or at least whoever is in charge of dispatch itself, there's no sense in calling in the lawyers. Save that for when the sheriff has proven that he has no intention of changing how things are done.

    I would recommend that the fire chief arrives at said meeting armed with dispatch SOPs, both your own, if you have them, and examples from nearby dispatch agencies, not to mention the information you've been collecting.

    You might want to take a look at how your dispatches are done, too. If you are using a CAD and it takes a couple of minutes to put in enough information to actually make a dispatch (ie, trip tones, send out texts and faxes) then it's not a problem with the sheriff. It might be slow typists, or a need to revisit how the CAD is used, though.

    All the sheriff's folks have to do is key up the radio and tell their patrols there's an incident at the corner of Walk and Don't Walk. Done deal.

    If the CAD is the problem, the solution might be as easy as a pre-announce made at about the same time as the SO is advised. Simply having the dispatcher key up on your dispatch channel and announce a possible structure fire at the corner of Walk and Don't Walk might gain you a minute or two on your response.

    Our dispatchers don't have that two minute delay, but for a dispatch involving several departments, which can involve upwards of 35 seconds of "music," I can be on my way out the door before the actual dispatch announcement is begun, simply based on the pre-announce.

    You may not be facing a case of attitude from the SO. If you are, fact-based discussions on why things should be the way they should be will go a lot further than chest-beating. If attitude isn't the problem, then they should be willing to work with you to streamline the dispatch process.

    But you've got to sit down and talk with them first.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Same problem here, our dispatch(county wide FD, EMS, LE) is run by the City PD in the largest town in the county. They always dispatch LE first. We have complained many times to no avail so we've just learned to live with it, it's not going to change until the current PD Chief retires and they get new management. I will say, as is the case with us, it's probably not the dispatchers fault. They are just doing what their told from the higher ups, right or wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF715MRFD View Post
    Same problem here, our dispatch(county wide FD, EMS, LE) is run by the City PD in the largest town in the county. They always dispatch LE first. We have complained many times to no avail so we've just learned to live with it, it's not going to change until the current PD Chief retires and they get new management. I will say, as is the case with us, it's probably not the dispatchers fault. They are just doing what their told from the higher ups, right or wrong.
    Im sure that our dispatchers are doing what they are told to and I can't fault them for following orders. I do however know for a FACT that the dispatchers they hire are put in LEO dispatch and if they can't handle dispatching LEO they are moved to Fire Rescue dispatch and we just have to deal with it. Because of the starting salary offered to dispatchers, they seldom get quality applicants. Sending them to dispatch training never guarantees a good dispatcher. I just wish they had some sort of screening test to weed out the ones who can't chew gum and pat their bellies at the same time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firedan525 View Post
    Im sure that our dispatchers are doing what they are told to and I can't fault them for following orders. I do however know for a FACT that the dispatchers they hire are put in LEO dispatch and if they can't handle dispatching LEO they are moved to Fire Rescue dispatch and we just have to deal with it. Because of the starting salary offered to dispatchers, they seldom get quality applicants. Sending them to dispatch training never guarantees a good dispatcher. I just wish they had some sort of screening test to weed out the ones who can't chew gum and pat their bellies at the same time.
    I can see where that would could cause some issues and we're lucky we don't have that problem. We do have good dispatchers, just a messed up way of dispatching. Good luck to you, I hope you're able to find a solution!

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    To make the hiring list our dispatcher wannabes have to pass a typing test (important, given CAD, etc), plus the usual civil service stuff. Occasionally we'll have someone with emergency services experience get hired there, but many of our new dispatchers come on the job not knowing a scanner from a TFT from a pulse ox when they first start.

    We'd love to get them out in the field, but they're perennially short-handed and pulling someone off a desk would usually mean overtime to cover the position.

    I suggested that we issue the new dispatchers scanners programmed for our frequencies, as well as surrounding counties, but that word "overtime" came up again. I figured if they could hear how others were doing it, they might learn from what they heard.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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