1. #1
    Nick SBFD 6
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Single freq for police/fire/rescue?

    Our dispatch center is currently looking into putting our police department, fire department and rescue squad on 1 common frequency, this would be in conjunction with 1 possibly 2 repeater sites going up as well. I was just wondering if anyone has heard of this being done and how it has worked. Here are some demographics to help give you an idea of what we're working with.
    We dispatch for 2 towns, the town of Berwick is already on a repeater system for police, and thier fire department will be going on thier own repeater shortly, this setup will not change, Berwick PD does 4500-5000 calls a year and fire does 200-225 a year they are covered by AMR so they don't have thier own radio, in South Berwick the Pd does 4000 or so calls a year, Fire does 250 and rescue does 650, all South Berwick departments will go onto one channel reducing the radios in dispatch from the current 5 to 3.

    So, does this sound like a practical idea? I think it would work, it's not like any of our departments are busy enough to run each other off the radio and all three have an exceptional working relationship as it is. I also forgot to mention we are implementing CAD for police calls, so in theory most radio traffic for the Police side would be done by computer. I think this system would reduce the need to repeat thing 2 or 3 times and miss important info on calls. Just looking for some input, thanks for your help.


  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    In my opinion, that is insane. What happens if the police are searching a building or a residence or something for a suspect and they want the air closed? Then the Fire Department is called for a structure fire with people trapped......
    Just seems silly to put them on one freq. like that. I know it may not be an everyday occurence, but what if something like that happens. That is, unless someone has a secondary freq. they can switch to. I don't know the specifics of the situation, but that's just my opinion from what you have said.

  3. #3
    Nick SBFD 6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well, this was also a concern of mine and one of the reasons that I am posting this topic. There are 2 universal fire channels that could be used as secondarys, as well as the town channel (generally used for dpw) and rescue would retain its old freq. for a ch2. Thanks for the post!

  4. #4
    Dennis Cavin
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If I may offer my humble opinion, I think anyone who integrates fir, police and EMS on one frequency is just asking for trouble. As stated earlier, what happens when simultameous calls for service arrive? Who gets priority? I can tell you, that the Police will be having their plates run while the alarm for the nursing home stays in holding. There is much more traffic on a police channel than a fire or ems channel and sooner or later, someone will get upset that they were 'walked on' by someone else.

    There are a great many othre issues that could be discussed as well. It is NEVER a good idea. So, how much time do you have to wait for the frequency to clear before you call 'emergency traffic'? When would you GO to the secondary frequency? After two tries? three? In an emergency...those seconds count....for all three agencies.

    sheeeesh...think it through!

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Just a quick question. You said you are implementing CAD for police calls and that most of there radio traffic will be done on computer. My question is are you implementing CAD with MDT's in the patrol cars or just CAD? If you are implementing just CAD then the radio traffic will still be the same as before. If PD is putting MDT's in the patrol cars then yes the radio traffic will be much less. As the others have stated already it is not a good idea to put law enforcement, ems, and fire on a common radio channel.

  6. #6
    Nick SBFD 6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    fd111, MDT's are already in place, I am just trying to build up some ammunition for the powers that be that this is not a good idea, When the idea was first proposed to me it sounded alright, I mean, what are the chances that in this one-horse town of two big-ones hitting at once? Now the what ifs are starting to set in and maybe this isn't a good idea. It seems nobody here has tried it so who knows? we could all be wrong, and if it doesn't work than I can say I told them so and I can come back to these forums and say without a doubt don't do this! I am the only one from town who works for Police, Fire and Rescue so I am getting an earful from this.
    Thank you again to all who have helped my cause I'll keep you posted as to what happens.


    [This message has been edited by Nick SBFD 6 (edited 02-08-2001).]

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The "Powers that be" in your district are goofy. Firefighters in general and police officers specifically like to talk too much on the radio. If you have more than one big incident going on at once, somebody's going to get hurt. We use a 800 mhz trunking system. Fire/EMS are on analog and police are digital. If they need to talk to one another, we can either patch them together or they can switch to a common Fire/Police Mutual Aid channel.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    One phrase to prove that having everyone on one channel is bad: SIGNAL 1000". In Rockingham County that is the signal that officers are in a situation that may be dangerous or has gotten dangerous and all radio traffic not pertaining to that incident stops on the frequency or moves to the Sheriff's channel. Try having a similar incident and then needing to tone out the RS for a DIB or something.

    The other thing to think about Nick, is to listen to Seacoast Fire when there are more then one or two calls going. Every "Wacker" with a radio feels the need to be on the channel signing on and each town thinks there emergency is more important then the others. People don't get off of the dispatch channel (which Seacoast is) and go to their respective FG or town channels as it isnow. (P.S. Seacoast Fire was originally licensed to the City of Portsmouth Fire Department in the early 20's and 30's and they decided to let Rye, Newington, etc. use it when they got radios. Now look at the mess that the channel is and Portsmouth had to abandon it for their own channel.) Again, another example of why piling to many agencies on a single FREQ is bad news.

    Everyone's safety will suffer if they do that.

    Be Safe, Nick..

    FF/EMT Jay Ellingson
    Newington,NH FD
    New England Dragway Safety Team (Sundaaayy!)
    Be Safe!

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    Sounds like a tragedy in the making.

    Two years ago my County EOC went from 1-dispatch freq, with 2-operations channels to
    1-dispatch, 3-operations and 2-misc channels and we STILL have trouble with multiple ops on the same ops channel.

    And this is in a county where all agencies are on seperate channels with seperate dispacthers.

    Just a few examples;

    PD is on traffic stop running a records check and the FD arrives at the scene of structure fire w/ multiple entrapments, exposures and can't communicate requests, etc etc.

    The PD,FDand Amb are dispatched to the scene of an MVA, same scene amd all 3 agencies are responding, going on scene, etc and all trying to communicate on the same freq, sounds like a cluster in the making.


  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    That is a bad idea. Put the fire depts on one freq. police on another. Get TAC channels that are on repeators.

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