1. #1
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    Default Cell Phones and 911

    The story:
    Today while working the medic unit, some of the engines were dispatched to a working structure fire. Caller stated that he saw smoke rising from the otherside of the tree line and thought he saw flames also.
    The sad thing about this is that it was definatly a working structure fire, but it was at the fire school. With the recruits putting it out. To train. Imagine the surprise they had when the engine rolled up ready to put it out.

    This isn't the first time this has happened either. I can think of many occasions when an entire box was dropped for a structure fire, only to find out that it was a controlled BBQ, or reflection from the sun, etc.

    I'm all for treating every call like it was real, but do y'all think that for cell phone calls the response should be limited, possibly making it only an investigation, not an entire response? I dunno, I'm still new to this...

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    Default Re: Cell Phones and 911

    Originally posted by thebigcheese
    but do y'all think that for cell phone calls the response should be limited, possibly making it only an investigation, not an entire response?
    Just because a caller is using a cell phone?

    Absolutely not.

    Now, if there is additional information that would justify a reduction in response (quantity or priority), then that is one thing. But that should come from interrogation of the caller, not just because they're calling from a cell phone.
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    Wouldn't you rather a full response and have it be "nothing" than go with a lesser response and find "something" and be unprepared?
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    I agree - just because a call originated on a cell phone doesn't make it more legitimate than the next.

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    A cell phone caller is just as legitimate as a landline, or a fire department member reporting seeing something over a radio.

    Sounds like an honest mistake. But on the flip side, these same reports like this have helped us find fires before when we didn't have an exact location.

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    I agree also...probably a good percentage of 911 calls come in on cell phones these days, and most are legit. Respond as you normally would.

    However, I think dispatch protocols should adjust a bit for cell phone calls...get some better details, since there is a preponderance of "drive-by" 911 calls these days, where the caller "thought" they saw something, but that was about 5 miles back...."I don't know if there's anybody in the house/injuries/whatever, I didn't stop".

    I don't think we should change our responses, but the dispatcher should tip us off as to the nature of the call so we can kind of guess what to expect...."Called in by passerby on a cell phone" would give us a hint that the report may or may not be accurate....full response, but with a degree of suspicion....On the other hand, "multiple calls" would probably indicate that it's real and it's big......
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    A good example of this is the prepetual "one call reporting a car fire" on the highway at rush hour. If one person called, it is inevitably a vehicle over-heat steaming. If they say that 50 million people along with their mother, brother, sister-in-law, and even George Wendt called it in, it is probably on fire.
    Last edited by nmfire; 05-08-2005 at 12:34 PM.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    In a town nearby, they have a sewage treatment plant. Every once and a while, they "burn off" gas through a pipe that can be seen from the road. Sure enough, they get toned out. Same response, they know what it is, but juuuussssttt in case it's not that pipe........

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    I'd treat it the same as a fire alarm. Send everyone then cancel if it's false. All it takes is one time where we get complacent and someone gets injured or even killed.
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    Our dispatchers tell us if it's a cell phone call from a passing motorist and how many calls they have received.

    We respond to all, but tailor our response based on the dispatch info (IE one call on an accident at "rush minute" (we don't have enough people for "rush hour") gets the first due hot and the rest cold). A cold response is done when the caller saw the incident about an hour ago and felt they should report it.

    A couple of years ago we had a three thousand acre wildland fire that was plainly visible from the interstate. The base camp covered about two acres with the usual assortment of personnel, engines, tents, etc. It was located near an exit and less than one hundred yards from the interstate. It was also plainly visible, not even a tree to obstruct the view of the camp. Dispatch got a call from a motorist reporting the fire. The motorist was insisted that there was no one around the fire even though you could see aircraft making water drops and engines working portions of the line. Law enforcement found the motorist on the shoulder of the interstate adjacent to the base camp. They were reporting the portion of the fire that they couldn't see anyone working.

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    Its better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.

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    Originally posted by nmfire
    A good example of this is the prepetual "one call reporting a car fire" on the highway at rush hour. If one person called, it is inevitably a vehicle over-heat steaming. If they say that 50 million people along with their mother, brother, and sister-in-law called it in, it is probably on fire.
    This is BS.

    Do you realize how far traffic would be backed up if 50 million people wereon the road? It is impossible. Add in their mother, brother and sister-in-law, and you basically have the entire population of the United States passing by the fire. That is completely implausible.

    And what about those who are only children? Are we not going to take their calls seriously because their brother did not call it in also? Please.

    You owe the entire forum an apology and your post needs to be edited to a more realistic, mathematically calculable figure. And don't do it again!

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    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally posted by nmfire
    A good example of this is the prepetual "one call reporting a car fire" on the highway at rush hour. If one person called, it is inevitably a vehicle over-heat steaming. If they say that 50 million people along with their mother, brother, and sister-in-law called it in, it is probably on fire.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Originally posted by George
    This is BS.

    Do you realize how far traffic would be backed up if 50 million people wereon the road? It is impossible. Add in their mother, brother and sister-in-law, and you basically have the entire population of the United States passing by the fire. That is completely implausible.


    Umm....sorry George, are you having a bad day. This was an excellent use of sarcasm...usually nonplausible or unrealistically calcuable. I understood the message perfectly as departments I have worked for tailor their response the same way. If only one caller reports an accident on the turnpike at rush hour, its usually no big deal. However if many callers (aka MILLIONS) call it in, it is probably significant.

    I thin you were off base here my friend.

    And NO apology is needed by anybody.....we are all friends

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    Originally posted by AKflightmedic
    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally posted by nmfire
    A good example of this is the prepetual "one call reporting a car fire" on the highway at rush hour. If one person called, it is inevitably a vehicle over-heat steaming. If they say that 50 million people along with their mother, brother, and sister-in-law called it in, it is probably on fire.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Originally posted by George
    This is BS.

    Do you realize how far traffic would be backed up if 50 million people wereon the road? It is impossible. Add in their mother, brother and sister-in-law, and you basically have the entire population of the United States passing by the fire. That is completely implausible.


    Umm....sorry George, are you having a bad day. This was an excellent use of sarcasm...usually nonplausible or unrealistically calcuable. I understood the message perfectly as departments I have worked for tailor their response the same way. If only one caller reports an accident on the turnpike at rush hour, its usually no big deal. However if many callers (aka MILLIONS) call it in, it is probably significant.

    I thin you were off base here my friend.

    And NO apology is needed by anybody.....we are all friends

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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Hahahahaha. Need we say HELIUM?
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Originally posted by nmfire


    Hahahahaha. Need we say HELIUM?
    Never fails, does it?

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    Apparently not. I don't know how some people survive in a firehouse with the inability to translate sarcasm and joking.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Originally posted by nmfire
    Apparently not. I don't know how some people survive in a firehouse with the inability to translate sarcasm and joking.
    Amen! Truth be told, they probably don't.

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    Ok, maybe I missed something. Oh well, it's bound to happen from time to time. I caught nm's sarcasm but not George's. Have a great day!

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    George, I caught it....... Sad that some didn't......


    As for the original situation, how about the training center notify the dispatching agency of that jurisdiction BEFORE you burn, where at, how long, etc......... This could help prevent this scenario from happening.......
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    My only problem with cellphones are the prank calls that come in on them. Our county will not tske the time to prosecute those who do this, they say that it's too hard to do and that the cellphone companies are very uncooperative. We had one about a week ago, MVC, several vehicles involved with possible entrapment. Nothing to be found.......
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    Certainly as 77 stated if the dispatcehrs knew what was going on it would help.In our county the rual VFD;s get paged for open burns (kinda a pain in the ***) but at least people know what could be on fire. In the county where we work , there is a refinery whose stacks can generate ALOT of calls, cell phone or not for a large fire, also do get some calls reporting a certain grain elevator on fire when it isnt too. If the dispatcher cannot verify info on a call back then a maximun response is sent.
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    Originally posted by arhaney
    My only problem with cellphones are the prank calls that come in on them. Our county will not tske the time to prosecute those who do this, they say that it's too hard to do and that the cellphone companies are very uncooperative. We had one about a week ago, MVC, several vehicles involved with possible entrapment. Nothing to be found.......
    Several years ago in Bergen County, NJ, there was a falkse 911 call for a robbery at a amall. One of the PO's responding to the scene was involved in an MVA and died. They prosecuted the caller for felony murder. He was convicted and did jail time.

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    Is this really necessary??
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