Thread: Laptops on Apparatus
11-26-2001, 01:46 PM #1
- Join Date
- May 2001
Laptops on Apparatus
Does anyone have a laptop on their apparatus, and if so what type of software/information do you carry on it? Also, do you use wireless web connections, or is everything done locally? How useful is the laptop? Any and all information would be greatly appreciated.
11-26-2001, 02:03 PM #2
- Join Date
- Jun 2000
- Ponderosa VFD, Houston,TX
We don't have them yet, but they are budgeted for FY2002. It will be a combination laptop / Mobile Data Terminal. The plan is have get dispatch information over the MDT, as well as pre-plans and maps. It would also have the standard HAZMAT data base. We are also going to try and incorporate our incident report program on it, so that reports can be done at the scene and downloaded at the station. Haven't decided whether or not to try a wireless dump system. We also want to encorporate a status switching system (enroute, on scene, in service, ect). This is a standard feature of all police type MDTs, so it shouldn't be very difficult.
I'll let you know how it works.
11-26-2001, 03:14 PM #3
When our new ET arrives next June, it will have a laptop on it. Not sure of all the different software it will have, but I know it will have the preplan software that I developed on it.IACOJ Agitator
Fightin' Da Man Since '78!
11-26-2001, 05:39 PM #4
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
- phoenix az
We have MCT's. I'm not sure on all of the specs. but we some sort of window's program. We ge the dispatch, addt. info, etc. in the MDT format. We also have a map that pop ups and shows you where the call is, hydrant locations, etc. Some sort of GPS follows the truck (updated every second) as you drive to the incident. AS you get closer, it zooms in.
You can also touch on apartments, commercial building, whatever, and it will give you a more detailed map as well possible haz-mats and other pertinent data.
It's a fantastic system. The only problem i can see is guys (especially new guys like myself) becoming reliant on it. It is afterall, a computer and we know how computers act sometimes- so we still have mapbooks on the rigs.
If you're looking for specific info. contact the Phoenix fire dept. Try 602-256-3394 (tech svcs.) maybe they can help you more than me.
Take care and be safe out there.try it you'll like it
12-02-2001, 05:15 PM #5
- Join Date
- Dec 2001
We have used laptops for several years. They were provided by the sheriffs dept. which handles all dispatching. We use them as mobile data terminals and for communicating between police and fire. I have mixed emotions on them. It is nice to have dispatch information displayed for you and if the radio is tied up with chatter it a good way to send a message providing the person you send it to is paying attention. It is difficult to type a command or message going down the road. We have had constant problems with the computers crashing and sometimes it takes two weeks to get a repair or replacement from the radio shop. They also drain vehicle batteries like crazy and need electrical shorlines plugged into them while sitting in bays. I know other departments that have all sorts of things integrated like street maps and preplans and so on. Unfortunatley we do not have those options. Right now I rely on it as little as possible, mostly to get run times and to talk with other units off air if needed. I spend little time in the truck going to a call and am away from it after that. I think they are good devises for command units more than fire fighting apparatus.
12-02-2001, 08:07 PM #6
- Join Date
- Dec 2000
We just got ours from the county but they're not operational yet as MDT's. The Microsoft Pinball works very well though
They run MS Windows 2000 Professional and have a keyboard and a touch screen - very cool. Once they're up and running, they will have our CAD, pre-plans and a haz mat database. Data is moved via RF over the City of Toledo 800 MHz trunked system. No internet access as far as I know.FTM-PTB-DTRT
12-03-2001, 12:24 AM #7
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
The department I work for paid on call has a standard buy anywhere laptop. All 300 of the preplans that we have done are saved as MS Word files by address. It has worked great except for a few goofs I now know that the propane place on bank street it's office has a 7th street address and that is what the preplan is stored under.
12-04-2001, 10:02 AM #8
Anyone know vendor names or companies that install the computers/software, etc.?
I'm interested in checking out the possibilities for our company.
12-05-2001, 10:12 PM #9
- Join Date
- May 2001
- easton, pa, usa
contact TuWay Wireless - Lisa Boligitz at 610-865-3811. Located in Bethlehem PA. For info.
www.tuway.comideas expressed & posted in the forum(s) are my own.
12-06-2001, 09:56 AM #10
12-06-2001, 12:46 PM #11
- Join Date
- Mar 1999
- Granbury (TX) VFD
12-06-2001, 03:00 PM #12
Thanks, Cook - no shame in that. I'd really like our company to look into this, the more info the better!
02-12-2005, 10:47 PM #13
For those that have laptops in the rigs, I have the following questions:
1. What brand laptops are you using?
2. How are they holding up?
3. What problems have you had?
4.Will a standard laptop hold up under the vibration load on an engine?
5. Has anyone tried the card in a laptop that serves as a GPS?
I am looking into this because we would like to use the mapping data and preplans on the computers. The computers will not be set up to transmit any data or the truck's location. Just looking for any input that may point us in the right direction.
02-13-2005, 12:45 AM #14
- Join Date
- May 2004
- Baldwin Co., Alabama
Hey Lewie! If you got any info on this let me know. I've been wanting to look into this for a while now. We have a program that we are currently using that has the capibilites to do preplans, mapping, and much more. Give up with me later and I'll let you see how it works.
As far as laptops go: the fire service is consistantly getting more techniologily advanced and I see computers becoming more and more used in the future.LT/EMT Wright
I A C O J
All opinions expressed are solely of my personal opinion and in no way reflect those of my department. This is for those of you who use a large stick to stir excrement.
02-13-2005, 09:22 AM #15
At the department where I work, but am no longer a volunteer, the Rescue/service truck has a laptop. Just a $1200 Tochiba (sic?) laptop the chief bought from someplace like Comp USA or Office Depot. It's mounted on a stand on the center equiptment console. Street Atlas runs on it with a small dash mounted GPS receiver which is about the size of a Zippo lighter.
So as you are driving to calls it leaves a trace of where you've been. When arriving on scene you can use the GPS coordinates displayed at the bottom of the screen for setting up landing zones for Airmed.
None of us have had much (or any) training on it so I don't know what kind of info is on it such as Haz-Mat Response Guide or prefire plans. I'm not saying that they aren't there but I have never been told that they were in the computer. We don't use it to find addresses before leaving the station, we have paper maps for that, and it doesn't communicate with dispatch so it isn't a MDT. As far as I can tell it's a $1200 GPS receiver.
We've had several problems with it, the latest being that the inverter that we had hooked to the vehicles power supply wasn't keeping the laptop charged. So now we have the laptop plugged into an extension cord when it's parked in the bay. Before taking the truck on a call you have to remember to unplug the regular shore line and the cord charging the laptop.
When the Chief sent out the annual fundraising letter for the volunteer department this month he mentioned that we hope to be purchasing a new Ferrera Intruder pumper and we want to raise enough money to put another laptop with GPS in the new truck when it comes in.
02-13-2005, 09:41 AM #16
We have an old laptop on one of our rescue trucks with HazMat software on it. It isn't mounted in the cab or anything though. It is in a laptop bag in a rear compartment. I wired shoreline power to the compartment to keep it charged.
I'm working on some mapping software for S&R incidents to put on a new laptop in the new rescue. Still a work in progress though.Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.
02-13-2005, 09:54 AM #17
- Join Date
- Aug 2001
LA City FD have laptops on their apparatus. From memory they receive dispatch information direct to the laptop, as well as having preplan info. etc. Again, from memory they use Panasonic Toughbooks. The only problem I saw while riding with them was that the officer had to keep opening the cover/screen, as it tended to want to close up whenever the rig hit bumps or went round corners while running to a job.Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1
...and before you ask - YES I have done a Bloody SEARCH!
02-13-2005, 12:21 PM #18
We have a few laptops for my dept to use for S&R. We've been using, along with the 2 surrounding towns, software by Garmin. As far as I've seen, it's worked out great. The crews give GPS corordinates once every 15 minis, and we then plot out where they are, how close to other crews and their landspeed. If you have any questions, feel free to PM or email me.The comments made by me are my opinions only, not of the Fire and EMS services I am affiliated with.
I have lost my mind..has anyone seen it? it's not worth much..but it's mine
02-13-2005, 01:10 PM #19
We've got Delorme TopoQuads that I am going to try and use. It has full topo maps and can even do 3D rendering. I've been gathering coordinates of various key locations to plot on the software as permanent markers. The greatest thing we can do with this is when someone calls from a GPS enhanced cell phone. The dispatcher can give us the coordinates of the phone, we pop them into the software, and bang... We get a picture of where the person is. Now command and the people making entry to the area have some idea of what they are going into. The crews can also take the handheld GPS with them and just walk towards the coordinates.
Like you said, the crews can report their own position as well, so command can see where they are on the map in relation to the victim and other land features. If they are walking towards a cliff, they can be directed around it for example.Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.
02-13-2005, 01:19 PM #20
Someday We are looking at grants for a lap top in the DC car. If that works out, perhaps the other apparatus down the road. One of our Lt's and I have been converting our pre-fire plans over to computer for about a year, but have a long way to go.
Some of the departments in my area have had them for a while. Our county dispatch center is looking at way to tie the laptops into the CAD, but its just in the panning stages.Fire Marshal/Safety Officer
"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
Success is when skill meets opportunity
Failure is when fantasy meets reality
02-13-2005, 02:50 PM #21
Our department is in the process of buying two Panasonic toughbook 29ís, one for our rescue and one for the chiefís car. We received a records management grant for eighteen thousand and what we would like to see is GPS in all our rigs and a 3 or more mile wireless connection for the toughbooks. As far as software we want to be able to type in the address get all priors on that residence and be able to save the patients medical history and anything else important. We need information on the long distance wireless internet connection if anyone has any experience with them.
02-13-2005, 05:39 PM #22
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- league city texas
we currently have them installed on our first out engines at each of our stations, currently have respond-ware software for mapping our entire city along with hydrants and pre plans for buildings, this software will map the quickest route to the scene by typing in the address, once we are tyed in to dispatch they can send the info to the mdt's when they tone us and it will be waiting on the screen for us when we leave the station. the mdt's are gps enabled so it updates the mapping screen as we get closer to the address that was entered in the screen. we also have haz mat software installed, that lists everything you would need to know about that product by name or placard numbers or by several other methods.we have just purchased the remaining mdt's for the remaining pumpers rescues and chiefs vehicles.you can check out an article about them at www.lcvfd.com. as for brands and some of the other specs you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and i would gladly give any info i could.
02-14-2005, 11:21 AM #23
Thanks for all the replies. This will give me a place to start.
02-14-2005, 12:42 PM #24
All Lucas Co Fire/EMS/Law Enforcement jurisdictions have MDT's in them...they are Motorola products whose names escapes me. When they work they work great ....when they dont it creates problems since there is no sign when they go down.
Last edited by Weruj1; 02-14-2005 at 12:45 PM.IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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02-14-2005, 01:48 PM #25
- Join Date
- Dec 2003
San Antonio uses Panasonic Toughbooks for their laptop-MDT's on all apparattus. For the most part they work great although we had to disble the touchscreen feature. Bumpy roads would cause the layers of the screen to touch each other, leading to unintentional unit status changes/ run cancellations etc. Also sometimes the wireless internet connection will disconnect with loss of signal....kind of a pain in the *** but overall better than the old MDT's.
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