1. #26
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    I will have to answer no to this one as well. I am a Dispatcher for a Combined Public Safety Comm Cnter and have been for 7 years. We dispatch Police/Fire/EMS/Public Works.4 years ago a I took a First Responder class and joined a local FD. I believe to be an effective dispatcher you have to estimate what your units are going to want as far as providing info, obtaining info, relaying info locating scenes, I think a good understanding of what type of app is needed on scenes and the general understanding of why also I require a dispatcher to take a Incident Command Class.
    Anthony Tryon
    FF/EMT-B
    Crabbs Prairie VFD
    Huntsville, Tx

  2. #27
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    Originally posted by hfd66truck
    Sending Dispatchers through FF I training can only help. The more they understand about the job, the better they will be. Also being certified as an EMT would help, as EMT trains you for the street, where EMD trains you to lend aid over the phone.
    using that line of thinking, they should also go to the police academy. and if they also dispatch public works (as some smaller towns do), then need additional training. Don't get me wrong, education is a good thing, and I'll never tell anyone not to take it, but we also need to be realisitc. do you really want to subject a guy, who's job it is to work a desk and radios, to have to put on structural firefighter gear, SCBA, and experience what it is like to be in a live burn? can you imagine telling a 5'2", 100 lb when soaking wet female dispatcher that she needs to learn how to or subdue a man with a weapon without drawing his/her side arm? and in order to keep the job, she needs to be able to do it effectively?
    First of all, there is no official state certification. New police officers must attend two months or so of law enforcement standards training. New career firefighters must complete two months at the state fire academy. New dispatchers -- who will be the lifeline for many of these officers & firefighters -- have absolutely NO state-mandated training requirement.
    New Jersey requires all dispatchers who answer 911 (and there are some towns that don't) to have Basic Telecommuncator and EMD, both 40 hour courses. however, one thing they stressed to us was that local protocol (IE, what your town told you to do) took precedence over what the taught you in the course.

    the reason for this is because no two dispatch centers are the same. I've seen some that are the size of office cubicles. small cubicals. these are staffed by only one person, who does call taking, dispatching, lookups, the whole thing. others that are staffed with 2-3 guys, CAD system, multiple truck radios, deal with the teletype, 3 different fire companies, a squad running 3 simultanios calls, etc. and there are county dispatch centers that have 15 guys doing call taking, 10 doing dispatching, fire and police are seperate, all computers interconnected, and they are doing it for 25 towns all at once. you can't take one person, drop them in a different enviorment and expect them to know everything, they need to be retaught how the dept does everything.

    and don't even get me started in the whole "nearest PSAP" thing.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

  3. #28
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    Originally posted by Dave1105

    What IT framework is your system based on? or is it custom software? Ours is based off Intergraph's iCAD....
    Its custom software based from iCAD.


    Oh so your dispatch isn't automatically linked? All 4 services are linked together in my area Police, Fire, Ambulance + State Emergency Service (SES are an angency that do RAR in some areas are a general emergency response agenecy, floods, landslides, trees over roads etc).
    Only NYPD and FDNY/EMS are linked. We have to use a phone to contact them 99% of the time and they call us with thier needs as well. The problem is that EMS and NYPD have new systems. The FD last major update was in the 70s and in many cases they still have systems left over from the 1800's. The FDNY is in the process of intergrating all the systems, BUT the civilian Fire Alarm Dispatchers union is happy about it. They think that EMS will take thier jobs.

    When an event type is deemed multi-agency, ie. requiring the attendance of more than one service.... as soon as the job is created by the call taker (from any service) it pops into the pending field for the appropriate dispatcher in each service. They then dispatch on it as required, also any information entered in by each agency can be seen by the other agencys. So if say Police take a call and fire then recieve a second call for the same event, notes being typed on the fire side of things are automatically and instantly seen on the police side.
    Its different here. NYPD receives all the 911 calls first. Then they decide if it needs to be routed to fire or ems. Then APD stays on the line and can only disengage if we say so. As far as additional calls go for the same incident...we do the same...add supplements. All this can be accessed via the onboard computers (MDT/KDT) in the Fire Apparatus, RMPs and Ambulances.
    IACOJ Member

  4. #29
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    MDT's are something we are still yet to have, in any service out here..... Kinda sad really when you think that Victoria Police were one of the first to have radio-dispatched cars in the world.... and MDT's have been around for donkey's years. Our systems are all setup ready to go... but none of the services have implemented the infastructure. We are rolling out a new digital, encrypted, radio network sometime in the near future.... apparently they are looking at doing MDT's at the same time, however we've been hearing this since '91!

    We do however have GPS unit tracking on our ambulances now, that's kinda funky... actually seeing where your units are and watching them respond to the incident on your map screen. Fire sitll doesn't have it, howevever, as with the MDTS "apparently" it's not far off. Police are a different kettle of fish..... they just don't want it, and their union is fighting hard against it.... No more taking the Division Van home to watch the football game during shift.....

    Its different here. NYPD receives all the 911 calls first. Then they decide if it needs to be routed to fire or ems. Then APD stays on the line and can only disengage if we say so. As far as additional calls go for the same incident...we do the same...add supplements.
    Telstra (Major Telecoms company in Australia) answers all the priliminary calls out here... asks your state and whether you require Fire, Police or Ambulance and then they are put directly through to the appropriate centre (Along with any CLI details available).

    Just out of interest, is your phone system at all linked up with your computers? By this I mean, does your terminal know when you are recieving a call and manually put you into "Create" mode (Or similar?) and automatically give you CLI details? Because ours doesn't.... CLI pop in on everyone's CLI window as calls are recieved and the very first thing the telstra operator does as you answer is read out an 8-digit number that is your cli reference and you have to pick it out of the box. As you can understand, if we get busy and you have CLI's popping in every few seconds, it can become really hard to pick the right one, especially if you have someone screaming in the background as the telstra operator reads out the number. Luckily, the numbers are random and not in any order so as long as you can get the first 2 or 3 you can usually pick it.

  5. #30
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    Originally posted by DrParasite

    using that line of thinking, they should also go to the police academy. and if they also dispatch public works (as some smaller towns do), then need additional training. Don't get me wrong, education is a good thing, and I'll never tell anyone not to take it, but we also need to be realisitc. do you really want to subject a guy, who's job it is to work a desk and radios, to have to put on structural firefighter gear, SCBA, and experience what it is like to be in a live burn? can you imagine telling a 5'2", 100 lb when soaking wet female dispatcher that she needs to learn how to or subdue a man with a weapon without drawing his/her side arm? and in order to keep the job, she needs to be able to do it effectively?
    If it makes them better at what they do, then yes they should. Our dispatchers only dispatch fire and ems. Some have FF 1 & 2, others don't. A dispatcher having a clue of what it is like to be in a mask, or stretch a line, or draw a gun.....it can only give them a better appreciation for what is going on on the other side of the radio. I didn't say it should be mandatory, or "required", but too many times I have seen problems due to the dispatcher not understanding what is required from the units in the field. Face it, dispatching is still a punishment in some areas (worse than Fire Prevention), until it is given its due, and dispatchers are treated as professionals.....there will always be problems. My point was simply that if a dispatcher knows what it like to crawl down a hallway, or roll around with a drunk, or lift a 300 fatty on the second floor...they will be better able to anticipate what resources are needed and act accordingly. Like I said before, read the post on this thread alone, most everyone that says they are lucky or have no problems...has dispatchers that do the job in their off time.


    Dave

  6. #31
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    Originally posted by Dave1105
    Just out of interest, is your phone system at all linked up with your computers? By this I mean, does your terminal know when you are recieving a call and manually put you into "Create" mode (Or similar?) and automatically give you CLI details? Because ours doesn't.... CLI pop in on everyone's CLI window as calls are recieved and the very first thing the telstra operator does as you answer is read out an 8-digit number that is your cli reference and you have to pick it out of the box. As you can understand, if we get busy and you have CLI's popping in every few seconds, it can become really hard to pick the right one, especially if you have someone screaming in the background as the telstra operator reads out the number. Luckily, the numbers are random and not in any order so as long as you can get the first 2 or 3 you can usually pick it.
    No our phones aren't linked to the computers. We have to hit the f12 key to bring up a complainent mask. What is linked are our computers and the PDs computers. It takes about 1-10 seconds for all the critical info such as borough (very critcal because each is like its own city and many address can be found in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn..i.e. there are 4 streets names Dekalb in NYC, and they do not cross each other) address, phone #, etc to come over...all I do is hit f5 and its dropped into my complainent mask or I can manually plug in the data. Our phones are linked to the PD too. When PD routes a job to us a tone goes off in our head set..(a boing sound)it is routed to whoever is availible.

    We are currently working on the GPS bit as well....NYC moves real slow...instead they went with personal radiation monitors.

    They other thing we have is the ability to send text messages to any ambulance w/ an MDT/KDT and the NYPD dispatcher that covers our "atoms", which are geographical areas on a map that are specific to a Precient...i.e. the 07A Atom is in the 7th preicent (07) and the A or "Adam" is the area closest to the precient house....and 07H would be the farthest....confussing...Sure IS!
    IACOJ Member

  7. #32
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    I am a dispatcher for our county wide dispatch center.

    I totally agree with most of you is that a dispatcher should have at least a basic uderstanding of the job of a firefighter. I don't think they have to go through FFI but at least rides and basic training of fire science, operations, incident command, basic fire attack, etc. I have been a part-time firefighter for 13 years, dispatcher for 6 years. If I didn't have my fire background, I don't think I could a good job.

    Same goes for law enforcement too. A dispatcher needs to understand the basic job of a police officer and have basic training and ride time to understand why a cop calls for certain things at certain times.

    Yes Medical Priority has flip cards for EMS/EMD as well as a set of cards for Fire. Here, we have a "Basic Dispatcher" class for 40 hours. Part of this time is the EMS/EMD card training. Really it is training on what questions you need to ask for different situations, stress management and multi-tasking.

    Someone said it best, "you will get better service out of someone who knows the job and understands what is going on at the other end of the radio." VERY TRUE!!!!

    Keep your head down and your powder dry.
    ________________________
    Lt.Jason Knecht
    Altoona Fire Rescue
    Altoona, WI

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