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  1. #1
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    Default When to switch to a fireground radio channel ?

    My department is reviewing our radio procedures as to when companies should switch over to a fireground channel. Currently we have no written policy, and it is up to the discretion of the IC. This practice is very inconsistant. Does anyone have a written policy or their 2 cents on this.


  2. #2
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    In Philly when we are dispatched we are automatically assingned a tac channel. All fireground communications are done on this band and the chiefs aide maintains contact with the fire communications center (FCC) via the regular fire dispatch channel. Too much radio traffic on a dispatch band interfers with other assingments and the ability of the FCC to do their jobs.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber Rescue21D's Avatar
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    Post I agree

    I agree completely with 18Truck. Unfortunately we have no formal policy, so we almost never change frequencies. I agree this is dangerous and am sure that one day it will bite us in the behind. We are working on a policy to correct this. We have the additional frequencies available to us, they just aren't used. Anyone with a policy and willing/able to share it, I would appreciate a copy.
    Captain/EMT-P

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    MembersZone Subscriber mtnfireguy's Avatar
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    Upon arrival..... meaning after the unit advised the dispatcher they are on scene, they switch to the assisgned tac channel.
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    We're dispatched on one channel and told which reponse channel to use. The apparatus stay on the response channel. The personnel use the tactical channel once off the apparatus. The IC and operators are responsible for monitoring both the response and tactical channels.
    For the most part it works well, a lot less stepping on eachother then when we were on a combined Tac/Response frequency. The only drawback is that the operators have to monitor two channels and can easily get overloaded.

  6. #6
    Forum Member HFRH28's Avatar
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    Upon arrival we instantly switch to direct talk (transmitting on the recieve freq.) until notified by IC which channel to switch to. Usually direct talk of the main channel works, unless disptach gets busy. As for somebody monitoring the main channel, we have two radios on the pump pannel of each pumper, one is UHF having all fire channels and the other being low band staying on the dispatch channel.
    Service is the rent you pay for having space on earth.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9
    We're dispatched on one channel and told which reponse channel to use. The apparatus stay on the response channel. The personnel use the tactical channel once off the apparatus. The IC and operators are responsible for monitoring both the response and tactical channels.
    For the most part it works well, a lot less stepping on eachother then when we were on a combined Tac/Response frequency. The only drawback is that the operators have to monitor two channels and can easily get overloaded.
    There is always something new to me. Why do the operators need to monitor the dispatch/response channel? Around here once you go on scene of an incident you belong 100% to the IC and only answer to him so there is no reason to listen to the dispatcher. This is not strictly enforced, of course, when you are mutual aid and something is breaking in your home unit and you happen to know about it you might ask the IC to be released if conditions warrant but nobody expects you to answer on the command channel after you have gone on scene, it is assumed you switched to tac.

    One thing I like to put forward is anyone fulfilling IC on car fire or bigger ought to have two radios, one on tac and one on command. Equally important messages pertaining to life and property can come over either channel and scanning doesn't cut it because one will always override the other.

    Birken

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    When we are dispatched we are assigned a working group, which contains 3 channels, one for water movement, one for oprations, and one for command. After we are dispatched, all radios stay on the dispatch channel for the first in report, so all people still responding to the department have a clue as to what they are going to, after the first in, we go to the working group.
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  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber cdemarse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnfireguy
    Upon arrival..... meaning after the unit advised the dispatcher they are on scene, they switch to the assisgned tac channel.
    this is what are bosses do.

    all firefighters have a radio but they are to stay on fireground, the officer monitors dispatch.
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  10. #10
    Forum Member len1582's Avatar
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    Default

    With my department, if the first in company reports a W/F or even smoke showing and is lining in the dispatch channel becomes the fireground one and they stay on the same channel. One less thing to deal with. Everyone else still in the other firehouses changes their radios(apparatus and portable) to a second channel. The guys on the fireground have enough to worry about, especially in the first few minutes, than to play with a portable radio somewhere under their coat. The exception is for Haz/Mat incidents. For a H/M incident the companies switch to the secondary channel as they respond.

  11. #11
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    We are dispatched on Channel 1. All units acknowledge the alarm and that they are responding and then immediately switch to the fire operations channel. From this point, all operations are done on the fireground channel. The only person who talks on Channel 1 is the IC when he gives his updates to dispatch.

  12. #12
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    We're dispatched on our primary dispatch frequency. First in engine gives a size-up over dispatch, then all units are switched over to a fireground while en route. They then check in with staffing and request instructions on this fireground frequency. it is IMPERATIVE that all units switch to a fireground, since we're on a different frequency and use mobile repeaters. They have to be on a fireground so our fireground traffic doesn't walk all over the other dispatch frequency.
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    We're trying to have every member of my department with two ways and our SOP is changing channels to our ops channel as soon as we get on scene.This does leave the folks that still only have pagers out of the loop but they are the newer people that get gofer or traffic detail on the fireground anyway.
    It beats tying up the county dispatch channel with calls of"Where's the &*^%! water?!"

  14. #14
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    In our Dept we have the ic stay on the dispatch channel and all fire ground ops switch to a tac channel. A possitive is when other departments are called in they all have this channel and everyone is one the same page. Negitive is that the ic has to have two radios going so that the ic can hear what is going on around the fireground.

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    BirkenVogt:
    Operators are an excellent resource for additional needs. What do you do when IC needs additional resources- power co., or additional units? I"ve been on incidents where a good dispatcher prompts an IC based on fireground reporting to request needs the IC may have "forgotten" and I see them as a valuable resource.

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    We switch to the responding District Major's channel when dispatched. If we are on an EMS or single company run we remain on dispatch.

  17. #17
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PFDTruck18
    In Philly when we are dispatched we are automatically assingned a tac channel. All fireground communications are done on this band and the chiefs aide maintains contact with the fire communications center (FCC) via the regular fire dispatch channel. Too much radio traffic on a dispatch band interfers with other assingments and the ability of the FCC to do their jobs.
    Same in here. All personnel here have a radio while on duty. On multi-company responses all portable radios automatically switch to the same frequency on channel 16.

    Our portables have 8 banks of 16 channels. (A,B,C,D,E,F,G, & P) Each of those banks has a number 1 - 16. Our main fire dispatch is on channel A-1. A-16 remains open until your are assigned a run. On multi-company responses all radios are "copied" for lack of a better term to the same frequecncy on A-16. That frequency is also somewhere else in the radio. For example, A-16 could be A-9, A10, B11, C8, etc. So I can either go to the fireground channel directly or it will be in A-16.

    The rationale behind this is that when in the standard "A" bank, the main dispatch channel has the number knob on the top of the radio all the way to the left or channel 1, and the fireground channel all the way to the right, or 16.

    Seems complicated, but even we could figure it out, and its actually pretty nice.
    RK
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    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  18. #18
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Actually, making the important channels the first and last is a great way to do it. If you go down in the building and your radio gets messed up, you just need to bang the knob in either direction until it stops and you're on the channel you need.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  19. #19
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    I'm the Assistant chief of a small rural fire department in Pa, of our county's 23 fire departments I don't think any of them have a written policy as to when to switch to a
    fireground Tac channel. I guess it all depends on what type of incident your responding to, if it's an MVA, service call, vehicle fire ect. I give my in coming units
    they're assignment and almost immediatly request a fireground channel. Now if it's a Structure fire I wait until my first due engine has laid line, my second in engine has the portertank dropped and my first due supplied. However if there's multible calls in the county our EOC will almost immediatly assign it to us. Thanks, dave

  20. #20
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    Lightbulb

    If any of you guys or gals have any SOP's for radio usage or know a good link to some sop's please e-mail it to me. crowe427@netzero.com
    Thanks.
    Last edited by crowe427; 11-24-2005 at 12:16 PM.

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