Like Tree3Likes
  • 2 Post By Bones42
  • 1 Post By TheIrons84

Thread: Question about Dispatch procedures

  1. #1
    Forum Member
    TheIrons84's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    AL
    Posts
    22

    Default Question about Dispatch procedures

    I realize that every FD has a very different set of rules regarding communications, but I am just looking for some input from anyone experienced as a dispatcher or familiar with their operations.

    In my thirteen years or so as a volunteer, I've heard a lot. As we all know, some dispatchers are great and some are terrible.

    I recently joined a new dept in the town I moved to. I am familiar with some of the area and many of the businesses, but I'm still rusty on street names and address numbers. I find myself wishing that the dispatcher could just provide a tad more info. I know I can always ask, but I don't want to be that guy that's tying up the radio.

    1. Is there some reason dispatchers don't tell the name of a business sometimes? Is it a privacy thing because of those who might have scanners?

    2. Why is it so hit or miss among different dispatchers on protocols?

    I'm sure dispatchers relay as much info as possible, but sometimes there is just so little.

    For instance, if a tone is called out for a residence, a simple "10-70 or Structure fire at a residence, 1234 Cherry Lane" would be acceptable.

    However, if it is a business, can't they relay the same info above, but simply add something like "be advised this is going to be McDonalds or the auto parts store"???? I know I'm not the only one who had searched frantically for an address not conspicuously posted..

    It is just frustrating to me to know that the caller probably stated "McDonalds is on fire" or whatever, if they were a passer-by.

    Another gray area is vehicle accidents. I would like to hear as much info as possible on these as well, but most of the time all we get over dispatch is an accident with injuries or something like that. Most of the time they will state if there is entrapment.

    Is it worth it to bring this issue up? I'd be willing to head up a class or meeting with all dispatchers, just so we are on the same page. I know ours, as well as many others, are doing several things at once - multiple PD units in addition to fire, but you get my drift..

    I want to sit down and have a discussion about this with my new Dept, but I want to be sure I have a good case before I do. A snapshot of how it is in other areas would be great.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    3,898

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cncwhiz View Post
    I realize that every FD has a very different set of rules regarding communications, but I am just looking for some input from anyone experienced as a dispatcher or familiar with their operations.

    In my thirteen years or so as a volunteer, I've heard a lot. As we all know, some dispatchers are great and some are terrible.

    I recently joined a new dept in the town I moved to. I am familiar with some of the area and many of the businesses, but I'm still rusty on street names and address numbers. I find myself wishing that the dispatcher could just provide a tad more info. I know I can always ask, but I don't want to be that guy that's tying up the radio.

    1. Is there some reason dispatchers don't tell the name of a business sometimes? Is it a privacy thing because of those who might have scanners?

    2. Why is it so hit or miss among different dispatchers on protocols?

    I'm sure dispatchers relay as much info as possible, but sometimes there is just so little.

    For instance, if a tone is called out for a residence, a simple "10-70 or Structure fire at a residence, 1234 Cherry Lane" would be acceptable.

    However, if it is a business, can't they relay the same info above, but simply add something like "be advised this is going to be McDonalds or the auto parts store"???? I know I'm not the only one who had searched frantically for an address not conspicuously posted..

    It is just frustrating to me to know that the caller probably stated "McDonalds is on fire" or whatever, if they were a passer-by.

    Another gray area is vehicle accidents. I would like to hear as much info as possible on these as well, but most of the time all we get over dispatch is an accident with injuries or something like that. Most of the time they will state if there is entrapment.

    Is it worth it to bring this issue up? I'd be willing to head up a class or meeting with all dispatchers, just so we are on the same page. I know ours, as well as many others, are doing several things at once - multiple PD units in addition to fire, but you get my drift..

    I want to sit down and have a discussion about this with my new Dept, but I want to be sure I have a good case before I do. A snapshot of how it is in other areas would be great.

    Thanks
    guess it may depend on the size of the town. If you say mcdonalds and there are five, even though you say the street, firefighter may go to the wrong mcdonalds

    2. Training and supervision. what do the supervisors sexpect and demand out of thier dispatchers.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    CaptOldTimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    7,257

    Default

    Most CAD's are set up with address and cross streets. Target addresses are listed as such. i.e. Bay Brook High School, 1234 E. Main Street, City Hospital 1315 Union Avenue, King Chemical Co. 345 W. Ocean Drive, etc.

    McDonalds, your house, my house, the Village Church would carry only the address and not the type of business or name of the folks who live there. Seldom would a CAD list a fast food restaurant or something in that natural but just the address.

    It is up to the members of the fire company to know where all major target areas are located and churches, food store, department stores and fast food place to eat.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,685

    Default

    Wait, McDonalds the food place, MacDonald's the bar, or the family McDonalds house?

    Thank goodness for clear text.
    HBofCJ and fire49 like this.
    "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?

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber
    tree68's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Jefferson County, NY USA
    Posts
    2,303

    Default

    You hit on one key issue - addresses not posted...

    Our dispatchers generally give a name for a residence, or the business name, pretty much in the same breath as the address. They even give specifics on auto alarms ("zone 6, garage heat").

    We also get the crosses. If there is any possibility of confusion on the road itself (a number of "county roads," which all have numbers, also have "common names"), they'll usually provide that as well.

    If we get a call that came in via cell phone, our dispatchers will often plot the lat/lon and give us an idea of where the call may be. This can be handy for MVAs (MVCs, TCs, etc), since many times the callers don't have a clue as to where they actually are.

    We, too, have text on dispatch, and if you're set up to get the full dispatch, most of that info will be on your phone.

    As for privacy - a county across the border recently changed to P25 conventional for their comms, and their paging is now all digital. I won't be listening again until I invest in a digital scanner.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    3,898

    Default

    Used active 911 for awhile, it would bring up location on a map

    Nice

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    TheIrons84's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    AL
    Posts
    22

    Default

    I understand a little better. This is a small town that doesn't even have a McDonalds. I was just using that as an idea. I see the point though about multiple McDonalds joints and how that could cause an issue.

    We have a program or an app for smartphones called IamResponding. It is really neat and shows the call and all members responding. I was looking at it the other day and found where it actually has a navigation feature, and this may be helpful in the future.

    It's just difficult to remember to get my phone out, open the app, hit the respond now button (which automatically updates to all other firefighters who are using the app), and then look for directions.

    Another problem with it is that the program is still being demo'd by our county, so it doesn't work 100% like it should yet. Sometimes there are delays in the call coming to it, and sometimes they don't come in at all. It is really good when it works though. Even has plugs marked on its map feature, which have to be entered in by gps.

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Homer Alaska
    Posts
    9

    Default

    I am an EMS/Police/FIRE dispatcher full time. and a volunteer FF for the neighboring dept as well. my town has max (tourist season) 5k people. we have one actual stop light and one blinkie light. We do not run cad (although i wish we did) and when i tone out medics or whatnot, i often give the address AND cross streets or business name. I am of course busy doing other things, but its no more time consuming to give the name like you said.

    Dispatchers honestly (most of the time) give you all the info they have, however sometimes they don't think from the responders side. hence using ten codes when the FD does not or giving address's like you say, instead of common names. I bugs me when a responder asks for further right off the initial tone. if i had the info, i'd give it to you. With our smaller dept's we often tone as soon as we have the location and initial complaint, then give further as info is gathered and units are rolling.

    I wish the responders were more familiar with me as a dispatcher and our view from the chair. I think it would clear up alot of miss communications and help with the smoothness of calls. Hope i answered some of your questions however i feel as if i rambled a bit. sorry :\

  9. #9
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,182

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by spdcrazy View Post
    I am an EMS/Police/FIRE dispatcher full time. and a volunteer FF for the neighboring dept as well. my town has max (tourist season) 5k people. we have one actual stop light and one blinkie light. We do not run cad (although i wish we did) and when i tone out medics or whatnot, i often give the address AND cross streets or business name. I am of course busy doing other things, but its no more time consuming to give the name like you said.

    Dispatchers honestly (most of the time) give you all the info they have, however sometimes they don't think from the responders side. hence using ten codes when the FD does not or giving address's like you say, instead of common names. I bugs me when a responder asks for further right off the initial tone. if i had the info, i'd give it to you. With our smaller dept's we often tone as soon as we have the location and initial complaint, then give further as info is gathered and units are rolling.

    I wish the responders were more familiar with me as a dispatcher and our view from the chair. I think it would clear up alot of miss communications and help with the smoothness of calls. Hope i answered some of your questions however i feel as if i rambled a bit. sorry :\
    Your dispatch agency should offer tours to the agencies that you dispatch for, so you can meet each outher and voice concerns. Ours does. There should be a regular communication path to discuss any problems that arise. And sometimes it helps if a run is put out with "no further information available", that way they the responders know that you've given all the info you have.

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Homer Alaska
    Posts
    9

    Default

    my PD dispatcher center is open for meet and greets of sorts. but it doesn't happen much. and my volly FD is dispatched from a center 2 hrs away.

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    TheIrons84's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    AL
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Thanks for the comment. spdcrazy, the rambling is no problem at all. I appreciate the input. It is great to get a reply from someone sitting in the chair calling us out.

    I think a great idea is to arrange a meeting with the dispatchers so that we can all get on the same page. I'm sure we can make that happen somehow. If we are able to talk to them and understand their process a little better, we can help close that communication gap that seems to be an issue.
    spdcrazy likes this.

  12. #12
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Homer Alaska
    Posts
    9

    Default

    always best to understand both sides to help keep things smooth

  13. #13
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Rural SC
    Posts
    16

    Default

    Our dispatch normally gives a description that includes a business name if possible. Some of the better dispatchers in our area gather a ton of great information such as a detailed description "grey house" or "blue automobile with parking lights on" and usually throw out cross streets to orient the emergency responders to the right area. A typical call could be for chest pain. The description from dispatch may be "Windsor First responders please respond for chest pain at 123 middleton drive. Your cross street will be cedar rd. Complainant will be in a blue suv in the rear parking lot of Windsor first baptist church. Your medic unit will be Medic 4 from station 4." That kind of information saves me precious time on scene trying to locate the patient and even lets me know that my medic unit is coming from out of area so I may have a delayed response waiting for EMS to be on the scene. I know my hometown fairly well but I can not remember where the 4200 block of Old Barnwell Rd is but if the dispatch lets me know that the cross road is Jaywood Rd they put me right where I need to be. In our rural department that is a huge help. Usually if the dispatcher gives us too little information we will ask for a cross street or even if the caller advised further so we can have as much information on hand when we arrive at the scene.

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    TheIrons84's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    AL
    Posts
    22

    Default

    I got an answer that wasn't really what I wanted to hear. I was talking with the chief about the possibility of a meeting with the dispatchers. According to him, they have been trying for years to get on the same page as the dispatchers and have had no luck.

    I guess the start of the issue is that, like many departments, we are dispatched from the same center that does the local PD. Since the PD is ultimately running the dispatch, I assume they see fire as kind of a second thought.

    when I mentioned the idea of a meeting, he immediately when into the reasons it has not, and probably never would happen. He said the PD or managing department that is over the dispatchers did not like them to get overtime. So, then I understood immediately that what 's going on is that this meeting would have to be set up on their paid time. I said, well why can't they just stop by a meeting one night and we can talk about it there..To which he said there was probably no chance they would come by off the clock.

    As much as I hate to say it, it looks like we will be pretty much on our own. I guess the next step is to focus on how to better communicate with each other and run our own scene, since it looks like we will not be able to depend on dispatch the way I wish we could. That's partly what my other thread here on scene size-up is about. I'm trying to get ideas so that I can propose a set system of how to relay info to other units.

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber
    tree68's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Jefferson County, NY USA
    Posts
    2,303

    Default

    Somebody is in charge of dispatch.

    Figure out who.

    If you can get your leadership to do so, arrange a meeting with that person, on their time (which will probably be during the day).

    Come prepared with a prioritized list of concerns and potential solutions.

    I'm betting that you'll hear "we didn't realize that was a problem."

    Be prepared to compromise and take baby steps. Asking too much at once is going to cause shell shock and certain pushback.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. grant close out procedures question
    By Skojo in forum Federal FIRE ACT Grants & Funding
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-29-2012, 09:52 AM
  2. Policies and Procedures Question?
    By FireAholic144 in forum Testing & Fitness
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-09-2011, 02:21 PM
  3. Dispatch Policies and Procedures
    By 1999msp in forum Emergency Services Dispatcher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-09-2010, 03:54 AM
  4. Dispatch question...
    By Slaytallica45 in forum Probie House: The Place for Newbies
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-22-2006, 07:35 PM
  5. Dispatch Procedures for Rescue/Haz-Mat Companies
    By mtomek112 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 12-18-2005, 01:23 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register