1. #1
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    Default Benefits of a central dispatch

    Well, I had wrote a nice long post -- and it messed up while posting. Here we go again..

    I need comments, suggestions, opinions, concerning our current county dispatch setup -- read on for the story and tell me what you would do.

    -------------
    Our fire department has 2 stations, we are a combination department with 3 people at our north station (12) and two people at our south station (13)

    There are about 7 departments in our county, all combination besides the city, full union paid.

    Our dispatch center is in the city police building, it houses the county/city police dispatch (radio), EMS dispatch (control) (hosptial based EMS service -- each truck has their own indvidual tone that drops), and fire dispatch (Central Dispatch) (each DEPT. has their own tone, for example our TWO stations SHARE the same tone).

    WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TONES DROP:

    Our laser printer shoots out a rip & run sheet, address, call back, nature of call, etc

    Dispatch states "Attention Center Twp. Fire -- your response is requested 555 W. Acme street on a report of smoke showing in a residence"

    An engine from station 12 with 3 people on station and an engine from station 13 with two people mark EN ROUTE WITH "CENTRAL DISPATCH"

    Once that happens, we switch frequencies to a fireground channel -- at this time our stations are OUT OF SERVICE until someone gets to the station, telephones dispatch and says "Station 12 is in service, we are available for another run". If this does not happen, we will NOT be toned to a second alarm if it were to occur -- a neighboring department would take the run.

    All radio traffic from this point forward goes through the station itself -- NOT "Central Dispatch". We mark on scene, request additional resources, etc with the person sitting in the radio room at our station. Dispatch does not do anything else until..

    We mark clear of the scene and available. Then, the person on station marks on the raido "Station 12 is clear, Engine 12, 13, 83 are clear of the scene, returning to station"

    Then we continue on and mark on station with our local fire department.

    I am new to this area, and this is NOT how we did it back home. At home where I recieved my training, each station had their own TONE -- dispatch handled ALL radio traffic ,and recorded all traffic.
    ---------
    WHAT I SEE IS A PROBLEM: This is where I need everyone's opinion, thoughts, etc.

    I am wanting to write a letter or create a presentation to the local county government, fire chief's association, dispatch administrator expressing my thoughts on this system. I feel like it could fall apart too easily. It always seems like "CENTRAL DISPATCH" aka county fire dispatch has no idea what trucks are where -- they don't tone us by trucks, it seems they have no idea whats going on at any given point in time.

    I would like to see the following changes made:

    1) Each department gets their own tone -- that way, when they drop our fire dept. tones at 4AM in the morning and the call is for the NORTH station for a old lady who fell, the south station personnel do not have to wake up needlessly...

    2) Central Dispatch actually handles all radio traffic -- this is safer for fire personnel on scene, relieves staffing issues, all resources are available in one central location

    3) We would be dispatched by TRUCK -- not Department,

    for example:

    Attention Center Township fire, Engine 12, Engine 13, Ladder 12, Car 1, respond to 555 W. Adams Street, on a man down.

    ********

    Please let me know what you think about all of this!

  2. #2
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    First you need to see what kind of CAD system the dispatch center has working for them. If it is not set up to advise the dispatchers the specific apparatus that should be sent on a call; asking them to know what apparatus needs to go to diferent types of calls is not going to happen. They can't be expected tio know what is do on every possible type of call. If the CAD can be programmed to recommend units based on location and type of call then your golden.

    Dispatch should handle all communications during an incident. Someone at your station should not be handling communications while you guys are on scene. That's just weird. In regards to the fire ground channel, many dispatch centers do not have the licensing to talk on Fireground channels, communications with Dispatch would have to be done on whatever you use for your fire main channel.

    Each station having their own tone is odd to me. I dispatch for 4 fire departments. When I hit a tone, all of the stations in that town here their tones. They all want to know what's going on in their town even if they are not due.

    I think that covers about what you aksed and it's just my $.02
    Someone once told me that time is a predator that stalks us all our lives. But maybe time is also a companion who goes with us on our journey, and reminds us to cherish the moments of our lives because they will never come again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJim911 View Post

    Dispatch should handle all communications during an incident. Someone at your station should not be handling communications while you guys are on scene. That's just weird.
    I agree completely, yet having someone at the fire station handle comms is common in some departments (not all) around here...I have no idea why. I think it's something that started back before dispatch centers and just hasn't died in some places. As far as I can tell it offers no benefit whatsoever, because if you need something on a call (tow truck, PD assist, etc.) you need to contact dispatch anyway. Calling your fire station, and then having them call dispatch just makes an extra step that's not needed. The only argument I've heard for this system is that the dispatchers get too busy and don't pay attention to fire calls, but I've never actually experienced that.

    Andy

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    I completly understand my a single tone may be wanted for smaller departments -- and I have recieved that same reasoning from a few other members on the department. Sounds like micromanaging to me.

    However, I believe that we are not a "small town department", if the on scene crew needs more help, or needs to wake up the other station, they can request dispatch to drop that stations tones. No problem.

  5. #5
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    As a dispatcher that handles both police and Fire/EMS I can honestly say I don't pay more attention to one then the other. I also have heard that happens but have never understood why. I'm guessing in those situations it's a political thing combined with a poorly set up comm center hierarchy with no policy setting guidlelines on radio communications.
    Someone once told me that time is a predator that stalks us all our lives. But maybe time is also a companion who goes with us on our journey, and reminds us to cherish the moments of our lives because they will never come again.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJim911 View Post
    Each station having their own tone is odd to me. I dispatch for 4 fire departments. When I hit a tone, all of the stations in that town here their tones. They all want to know what's going on in their town even if they are not due.

    I think that covers about what you aksed and it's just my $.02
    27 fire departments for me (in county) 3-4 out of county for fire.
    Out of those 27 departments, there are a total of 36 stations. (ALL Volunteer)
    Plus we dispatch for EMS (18 stations)

    So here's a scenario in my town. Our FAST/RIT team for central county is in my department. We have 3 stations. Our fast team makes up members from all 3 who respond to one station.

    So if there was a call in Lambertville, dispatchers would have to drop 4 sets of tones for all 4 stations in this town. One for the 2nd due fire company. 3 tones for the Fast Team. One tone for the squad.

    So instead of 4 3-5 second tones, you are asking for 9 tones at maybe 5 sec a piece? 45 seconds of tones!?

    Thats a full minute of tones nearly!!!! God forbid they get messed up and have to be redone. The house would almost be gone before we knew there was a fire.

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