1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb In-House Dispatching

    My Dept. is look at different was of augmenting out existing PD-based dispatch center. One approach being looked at is the created of a "dispatch desk" at our station to be staffed by our own members during working incidents. Although we currently have a base station, what other equipment (communication or otherwise) would be appropriate for this type of arrangement? Also, if anyone is using a similar system, please describe your procedures for implementing the "desk" on an incident.

    Thanks in advance.


  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We are currently dispatched by the County on ONE low-band frequency that also serves as the fireground frequency. It sucks, since there are 16 other departments using this "glorified" CB radio. Our problem is that the County also dispatches a larger city on an 800 MHz system (which we hope that we can upgrade to before someone gets killed), and they are often monitoring all of their working tacs (channels) and sometimes we get lost in the shuffle. Our answer has been to run our own base station during calls. The only stuff that County dispatch wants to know is that someone has responded and when we return to service. Otherwise, we have a GE/Kenwood base station that we use to monitor our radio traffic. If I were you, depending on how many frequencies you use, I would have a base radio with scan capabilities, an uninterruptable power supply (we have an old army surplus generator that kicks on when the power goes out), a clock with military time, a police scanner, small weather station (that gives temperature, relative humidity, wind direction and speed), a very, very tall base antenna, a paging encoder (if you have the capability to page your department), a two-line phone, fax machine, FCC license, and a computer or written log book, and TV set. Here's what you need the stuff for...

    Generator: If the power goes out, (or Y2K, you never know).

    Weather Station: Gives pertinent information that you can relay to responding haz mat crews.

    Scan-Capable base radio: You may have more than one channel to monitor. If you use one channel for staging, for instance, and one channel for interior/roof operations, etc. this comes in handy. Or, you could have one base radio for each main channel you use. I've seen some departments have a base dispatch radio, a base medical radio, and a base fireground radio.

    Scanner: Weather information, information from other agencies that aren't on your frequencies, etc...alleviates boredom at the station when you are the only department in the county NOT responding on calls.

    Paging Encoder: We can send announcements for ourselves over the radio, and we can also dispatch for the Western half of our county should our dispatch center go down.

    Computer/Written Log book: Writing down times and pertinent info for reports and documentation.

    TV: Alleviates boredom, also is handy for the Weather Channel and local cable TV emergency announcements.

    Tall Antenna: For base and scanner, you need to reach out and receive. Find out what the FCC will allow.

    Clock: Uh, I don't know what that's for! HA!

    Two-Line phone: Lot's of people will call, or you may have to call lot's of people.

    Fax: You may need to receive MSDS info or floor plan info that may be helpful to the Incident Commander.

    Oh yeah, don't forget a desk with STRONG LEGS for all this STUFF!

    Good luck!

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