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  1. #1

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    Default Cell Phone Text Paging

    My station has a lot of members and not quite as many minitors. I have a friend from another station in my township who has calls forwarded to his cell phone in the form of a text message. I was wondering if anyone here knows anything about this or how I can get it?


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    There are "services" that will sell you this function.

    Would be a lot more useful if they forgot about the silly teenager texting and just had broadcast function with a phone dialer voice playback of the page.

  3. #3
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    We have a very nice text paging system for calls now as well. Software from InfoRAD is installed on the server at dispatch. The CAD exports call data to InfoRAD and that data is sent to text page groups that we defined. So EMS calls go to our EMS members. Fire calls go everyone. It sends out the call type, address, premise name if it has one, and cross-streets. Very cool and very helpful. This is not one of those spark-pager things.

    HOWEVER, with that said, CELL PHONE TEXT MESSAGING IS NOT DESIGNED FOR NOR SHOULD IT BE USED AS A PRIMARY MEANS OF ALERTING FOR EMERGENCY CALLS. It is a secondary backup only!
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    We have a very nice text paging system for calls now as well. Software from InfoRAD is installed on the server at dispatch. The CAD exports call data to InfoRAD and that data is sent to text page groups that we defined. So EMS calls go to our EMS members. Fire calls go everyone. It sends out the call type, address, premise name if it has one, and cross-streets. Very cool and very helpful. This is not one of those spark-pager things.

    HOWEVER, with that said, CELL PHONE TEXT MESSAGING IS NOT DESIGNED FOR NOR SHOULD IT BE USED AS A PRIMARY MEANS OF ALERTING FOR EMERGENCY CALLS. It is a secondary backup only!
    Actually, around here, we use both equally. There are times when the radios don't work, so we use cell phones instead. They come in handy when there is a lot of radio traffic as well. Although, we don't do the text thing. We actually talk. And as I think about, in NY it is actually illegal to talk on the cell phone while driving, I wonder if there is an exemption.

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    We also have text messaging to department-issued alphanumeric pagers to most (perhaps all) departments in our county. In theory it could be forwarded to cell phones, but at this time it is done only through official channels to department-designated pagers.

    The main reason this was done was the switch to 800Mhz, but other benefits have come to light. Dispatch is still simulcast on VHF so that minitors can pick up the call, but following the dispatch, all radio traffic is on COM or OPS channels, so minitor-carriers cannot monitor responses, size-ups, cancellations, etc.

    Now, initial dispatches are also sent to the alphas. This is actually very nice, because it contains the address of the call along with the units dispatched, so you don't need to memorize, write down or playback the dispatch to recall where you're going.

    Major updates, additional responses, cancellations, etc are also sent to the alphas. As a secondary benefit, we now use the alphas to communicate to the masses apparatus/equipment outages, reassignments, shift openings, drill reminders, etc. It's great. They also work in lots of places the Minitors don't so if you are in a bad coverage area, the alpha will probably pull in the call. If your tendencies are slightly whackerish, you can take the alpha hundreds of miles out of town and still get calls (I just wanted to hear the announcements, yeah right).

    I unequivocally agree with nmfire, and will quote his last paragraph accordingly:
    HOWEVER, with that said, CELL PHONE TEXT MESSAGING IS NOT DESIGNED FOR NOR SHOULD IT BE USED AS A PRIMARY MEANS OF ALERTING FOR EMERGENCY CALLS. It is a secondary backup only!
    You only have to be stupid once to be dead permanently
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    and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy. - Dave Barry.

  6. #6

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    Thanks, this sheds some light on my issue.

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    MembersZone Subscriber SWLAFireDawg's Avatar
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    Our dispatches go out almost simultaneously on the radio and the alpha numeric pager. As stated above, the address, cross streets, short description of the problem, units requested, and dispatch time come across. Any request for further resource or cancellation of resources are also dispatched on both.

    Meeting reminders, fund raising reminders, or anything else the officers want communicated can be sent out over the alpha numerics with great ease.

    We can opt to have the text dispatches sent to our cell phone, but most use the pagers since reimbursement for the minutes is not offered. However, the cell phone dispatches can lag by as much as 5 minutes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWLAFireDawg View Post
    However, the cell phone dispatches can lag by as much as 5 minutes.
    Wow...nevermind that!

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    Our chiefs and officers get it from the local p.d. or county which everone activates us. Regular members can get it from our dispatcher in the firehouse as soon as the call is logged into the computer.
    Its nice but I wouldnt consider it a first line dispatch system. To many glitches, such as a cell tower going out. Buy used minitors, give the good ones to the officers and the most active and spread the old ones out.

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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Who "hears" a text message on their cell phone at night when sleeping?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber SWLAFireDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Who "hears" a text message on their cell phone at night when sleeping?
    I imagine it would depend on how your cell phone was setup to notify you of a new text message. Pagers make up the bulk of the dispatch system for one of the departments I volunteer with. The department cannot afford to outfit everybody with portable radios. Pagers are issued to every volunteer firefighter in the parish though, regardless of the fact they may have been issued a portable.

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    MembersZone Subscriber dday05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOsche66 View Post
    My station has a lot of members and not quite as many minitors. I have a friend from another station in my township who has calls forwarded to his cell phone in the form of a text message. I was wondering if anyone here knows anything about this or how I can get it?
    Is purchasing more pagers not an option? As stated using text messages should only be a back up. We have alpha pagers which dispatch pages as well after the tones are dropped. Sometimes we're on scene before they even go off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dday05 View Post
    We have alpha pagers which dispatch pages as well after the tones are dropped. Sometimes we're on scene before they even go off.
    That's a common problem when people try to do alphanumeric paging on the cheap by outsourcing to a paging company. If you are going to use it, you need to own your own private terminal/transmitter and have it directly interfaced with your CAD system, so your pages never have to wait in a queue.
    Last edited by vfdguy; 07-10-2007 at 08:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Who "hears" a text message on their cell phone at night when sleeping?
    Text-capable phones almost always have a configurable ring or tone associated with a text message, not unlike the ringer for actual phone calls. If the phone can wake you, the text can wake you, too. But again, I wouldn't suggest anyone use it as a primary means of notification.
    You only have to be stupid once to be dead permanently
    IACOJ Power Company Liason
    When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution
    and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy. - Dave Barry.

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber dday05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vfdguy View Post
    That's a common problem when people try to do alphanumeric paging on the cheap. If you are going to use it, you need to own your own private terminal/transmitter and have it directly interfaced with your CAD system, so your pages never have to wait in a queue.
    I do believe we have that. I in no way though am a radio/pager type person. I will double check though... I just use the equipment.

  16. #16
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Bones,speaking only for one,me.Four area towns are text'd to my Nextel.At night when you hear this clattering and vibrating on the nightstand,you have INCOMING.Phone beeps as well.Kinda nice as it gives me a heads up for an incident that may escalate to where we go MA.By the time we do,I already know where,what and when.HOWEVER,like any paging service(outside)sometimes you DON'T get the message in a timely fashion. T.C/

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    Quote Originally Posted by dday05 View Post
    I do believe we have that. I in no way though am a radio/pager type person. I will double check though... I just use the equipment.
    A lot of depts go with outside paging companies and then experience delays like that, but it sounds like you guys have your own system.

    If you do have your own paging system, then I would hazard a guess that something is not configured properly or there is a firmware issue with the terminal. I know when our system was first installed there were issues with pages not being received occasionally until we were on our way back to the station from a call. Once they got things tweaked we really haven't had any trouble since.

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber SWLAFireDawg's Avatar
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    I had forgotten to mention all of our dispatches are done through the parish (county) 911 dispatch center. That includes the radio and pages.

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    Thumbs down

    Text messages aren't reliable, at least around here. You may get a a text message saying "Fire Service Any Type" which is a routine assistance call. If that turns out to be a cardiac arrest on arrival, since the dispatch center has already built the call as a "Fire Service Any Type", you won't get a second text message alerting you of the real situation. It's a good tool if you forget the numerical, but other than that, useless.

  20. #20
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotTrotter View Post
    Actually, around here, we use both equally. There are times when the radios don't work, so we use cell phones instead. They come in handy when there is a lot of radio traffic as well. Although, we don't do the text thing. We actually talk. And as I think about, in NY it is actually illegal to talk on the cell phone while driving, I wonder if there is an exemption.
    Luckily, most people here have learned to not pay much attention to anything you have to say. It figures you think using cell phones is a good way to handle primary emergency communications. Once again, you've proved to us that you don't know what you're talking about.

    In CT, it is illegal to hold a cell phone in your hand and drive. There is an exception in the law for emergency services when the call is regarding their duty as an emergency services responder.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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