Thread: Radio traffic, Must we?
05-30-2002, 09:05 AM #1
- Join Date
- May 2002
Radio traffic, Must we?
This is for anyone who works 24 hour shifts.Our Dept. decided about 8 years ago to install speaker systems in all our stations,so as to have all radio traffic blaring 24-7.Prior to this only the responding station would hear the dispatch and other radio traffic concerning the call.Our Dept responds to nearly 5000 calls a year.My concern with this and i hope i don't sound like a whiner is,there are nights that my firehouse won't get a call, but my crew is kept awake practically all night listening to the other houses responding to calls.Now maybe this is common practice in other depts.
I can't see the logic in stressing out the rest of the dept. at 3am for a garbage can on fire accross town.
If there are any depts. that operate like this or have a better system,please reply to this.
05-30-2002, 09:59 AM #2
Yuck, that isn't whining at all, that would just down right stink. Most stations in this area have a PA system activated by the dispatcher to announce the run and nothing more. You guys should look into that. I've also seen station radio systems hooked up as a speaker system off a plectron, where when the tone drops that would normally cause the plectron to beepbeepbeepbeep, it broadcasts over all the speakers in the station. The downside to that plan is that someone has to go and manually reset it after every run.
Just some ideas for yah
05-30-2002, 10:01 AM #3
- Join Date
- Oct 2001
- the heartland, USA
We have a system that can do what yours does, but you have to "open the speakers" at all the stations. The only time this happens is for 2nd alarm fires, MCI, or informational pages. Usually what happens if my station gets the garbage can on fire, the dispatcher will "open" our(and only ours) stations speakers. You usually hear a "pop" (speakers opening up), then the unit assignment (pumper 5), then 7 "beeps", then dispatch gives the address, nature of call, radio channel, and response code. Once this has been accomplished and the assigned unit is out the door, the dispatcher then has to turn off the speakers in the station, so the guys still sleeping in house do not have to listen to everyone else going out on THIER garbage can fires. Sometimes the dispatcher forgets, or gets busy, and we end up listening to a little chatter, but for the most part they do a great job! For listening to the rest of the city run(9 other stations), each station has bought a scanner, and we can go to the kitchen and listen to their calls. The reason for an "all call" on second alarm fires is just to put everyone on notice, that if we get another fire, you will probably be up next. The system works pretty well, but it is old. I like the way it is set up!
Channel 1- dispatch channel, can be used to run an incident.
Channel 2- EMS channel for medic squads (we've run fires on this before)
Channel 3- fire channel
The best thing we've done is started adding a few more channels.
channel 2- usually EMS channel for medis squads.
channel 3- fire channel.
channel 4- "talk around" channel for the hazmatologists.
The best thing we are doing now, is adding more channels. If you have 2 fires going, along with a few medic squads out, the radio gets to be a real crowded spot!
05-30-2002, 08:42 PM #4
- Join Date
- Jan 1999
Man....I thought we had it bad. We only run 2 stations, but we have the ability to kill the speakers in both stations from dispatch. (boys pay attention...yes the dispatcher controls it...so be nice...thats the lesson here). When we get toned out both the speakers open and the lights come on.
05-30-2002, 08:53 PM #5
That would get old in a hurry...when you are on night watch and/or in the watch office, you can hear the radio, but you can also turn it down. One thing we do that I like is on any mutiple alarms, all stations are toned. Lets you know what is going on and that your district just got bigger!My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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05-30-2002, 09:25 PM #6
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
- S.E. Idaho
We use the plectron system mentioned above. We have four stations in a county of a whole lot of stations and pretty busy. The plectron base sits in the Captains office (bunkroom) and so he resets it when we return. This isn't a bad system. I wouldn't like listening to all the other stations all night long...
05-30-2002, 09:41 PM #7
Dude, we have that same set-up in Chas. S.C. Just when you think it's over because they are leaving the call, they check-out at the fuel pumps. I've said something before but some people think it's really important to listen to the whole district, just so they can have a heads up. I think that's crazy, but I'm not the chief yet. LoL
05-30-2002, 09:43 PM #8
- Join Date
- Apr 2002
I'm no expert on systems but maybe you could look into a system kind of like a pager. With our pagers it is silent of all calls until our tones go off. Then it is on 24-7 till you reset it. With this system you can choose either 24-7 or just for your calls. I'm not sure if you can get a system like this but it might be worth checking into.
05-30-2002, 10:57 PM #9JeepFireNYFirehouse.com Guest
My county consists of 26 depts, plus were volunteer so we the radio traffic on our channel isn't exactly heavy. So we keep our radio on monitor with a speaker of course in the radio room, one in the bay, and another in the back rec. room. We keep it on basically to keep on top of whats going on around the county, and like I said, it isn't going off every 10 minutes with a call.
We all also have Minitor II pagers, so basically the radio usually gets ignored until our tones go in.
05-31-2002, 09:38 AM #10
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
- No. Providence R.I. : Land of the "How ya doins"
My dept. has what you have, however we have a day/night switch which will kill the radio except if the stations tones are hit (we use tones between 21:00 and 08:00). All the stations keep it in day mode to know what is going on in the city. We also can turn the reciever down as well."I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."
Edward F. Croker
Fire Dept. City of New York
HOOK N' CAN of the I.A.C.O.J.
05-31-2002, 07:58 PM #11
- Join Date
- Nov 1999
We have 84 stations and have what you could call an "overtaxed" radio system. We do however have a microwave system. This enables the Dispatcher at Fire Alarm to hit only the stations with companies responding to an incident to be "hit" by the microwave. This is a seperate channel that does not have any other function other than to be used for station alerting. When a station is "hit" or "booped" by the microwave in HFD, the speakers open up, all lights come on (You can get a sunburn in the dorm at 03:00hrs), a fire or EMS alert tone is given and then the companies to respond along with location and nature. During the 60 seconds that all that is going on is the only time that any other incidents being dispatched in the city can be heard. The only other time that all stations are "booped" is for a 2-11, 3-11, etc. multiple alarm fire, special announcement and when our EMS system is running out of transport or squad units. If you want to listen to whatever else is going on in the city you can get a portable radio off one of the rigs or listen to the scanner every station has in the lounge or watch office area. Just my thoughts.
Last edited by STATION2; 05-31-2002 at 08:01 PM.Stay low and move it in.
05-31-2002, 08:41 PM #12
We can hear the other two firehouses in my department dispatched over the radio system, but it is, as Elmer Fudd would say it..."vewy, vewy qwiet!"...it's like falling asleep to music at a low volume. The only time the speakers open to full volume and the house lights come on is if Fire Alarm tones out the individual stations or uses the "all call" alert tones which notifies all three stations. At night, it scares the scat out of you!"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
05-31-2002, 09:24 PM #13
We have a simular system, and for a time I couldn't sleep without a scanner going at home. But we overcame the problem with a very simple solution, we took a pillow and taped it over the speaker in the sleeping quarters. This allowed us to hear what was going on but muted it enough that we could sleep. And for those that were wondering the watch guy still had his own speaker.
P.S. Just remember to remove the pillow before inspection."Never mistake knowledge for intelligence; it is like mistaking a cup of milk for an entire cow."-Thomas Jefferson
I.A.C.O.J. Member and F.A.R.T.'s local 4 founding member
Mama said she only raised one fool.....Hey wait a minute I'm an ONLY CHILD???
06-01-2002, 01:17 AM #14
Hey, this is my 100th post.
We have two systems in our three houses. An intercom with a loud, single tone that comes from 911 to wake us up and the regular radio with it's seperate tones. The intercom is activated first followed by the radio dispatch. We keep the first tone turned up to wake us up and the radio turned down low in case it's not our call and we can ignore the rest of the traffic. You can still hear the radio if you are awake but it's not so loud as to keep you awake. With only three stations and most of the calls two or more units the tones go off in all the stations for every call."What makes a person run into a building others are running out of?...Character."- Dennis Smith
06-01-2002, 04:57 PM #15
- Join Date
- May 2002
Thank you for your replies.I knew i wasn't the only one who thought this setup was stupid.
I strongly believe the problem in my city is that management hates the idea of us being able to go to bed after 10pm.
06-03-2002, 01:35 AM #16
We have what I consider the best system i have ever heard of. In all of the stations have a PA system tied into the dispatch center. All general announcements, 911 PHONE CALLS for reported fires, and responses to FIRE calls are piped into all 26 stations, at all hours of the night. The ability to listen to the actual phone calls as they come in for fires gets us out the door the MINUTE that the caller talks to the dispatcher. We can also hear what type of fire, what type of building, whether we have multiple reports etc... Good way to start the reponse, with more information than most departments.
Oakland, CA Fire Department
06-03-2002, 11:42 PM #17
The only full-time dept. in my county would be the City of Eau Claire Fire Dept. They have the old system of the open radio. Someone gets a call and they all hear it. I know from personal experience that really sucks. According to the powers that be, this will change with our new Computer Aided Dispatch(CAD) system that will tone stations instead of a general call all the time. This will be much better so that only the stations that have to respond will hear the page.
Hopefully this will happen soon. I work in the dispatch center and I am looking forward to line dispatching. Right now, we dispatch, and the fire units say who is responding. With line dispatch we will be telling which units to respond. Personally, I can't wait.
Keep your head down and your powder dry!!
Altoona Fire Rescue
06-04-2002, 10:22 PM #18
- Join Date
- May 2002
- fort worth texas
we have a day and night setting in the day we hear everyone and when put in the night setting we only hear traffic when the tones go out for our station and the lights come on then we reset the radio and all goes quiet until the next call.I PROVIDE A NAMELESS FACELESS SERVICE TO A COMMUNITY THAT RARELY KNOWS HOW MUCH THEY NEED ME IF I AM CALLED FROM A SOUND SLEEP TO SACRIFICE MY LIFE TRYING TO SAVE THE PROPERTY OR LIFE OF SOMEONE I DO NOT KNOW I WILL DO SO WITHOUT REGRET
From the book "The Heart Behind The Hero" from Jon Mc Duffie in memory of Joe Dupee LAFD
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