01-07-2008, 05:27 AM #26
Back in the day...when we were mobilised by the old UK Home Office 'Teleprinter' the printer bell would ring...and wake you most of the time a good 10 seconds before the 'clunk' of the switch throwing the lights on then the fire bells.... back then at the Station I was at, sleep was never deep because an uninterrupted night was rare.
In 1990 we changed to a newer mobilising system, the old electric bells were removed and replaced by electronic bell sounds from a speaker... just as loud and because the modern printer did not need to cough and splutter into life the whole thing became instantaneous, often leaving me cramming my heart and stomach back down my throat as I got dressed.
It stayed like that up until I became a Chief and started responding from home overnight... But now, in London wth another new mobilising system (2004) the 'Bells' have gone, to be replaced by a sort of electronic trumpet tune... yep, that's right, then a nice female voice in 'Newsreader English' announcing who is going. I've never turned out to that because I became Chief in 2002, but have stayed at the Station once or twice after a very long day and found it didn't start me as much as the old bells.
i.e 10 seconds of this trumpet type tune then "Mobilise, Mobilise, Foxtrot 221 Foxtrot 221...Foxtrot 222, Foxtrot 222" Then it repeats by which time most people are on the trucks. (F221 & F222 for both pumps to turnout...if just one goes then 'she' announces only one callsign)
Now the pager...first mistake when I became chief...leaving it on vibrate on the side next to the bed.... the bleep bleep was fine... but the damn thing vibrating across the surface frightened the hell out of me...especially as I was in my own bed and had ever been 'turned out' of that apart from a middle of the night cry from the kids?
Now, I leave it on my belt...at the end of the bed so it wakes me gently. The good thing now is...after 15 years of being thrown onto the street with a full bladder and 'morning breath' at least for the last 6 years I get to go to the toilet, brush my teeth and dress at a slower pace before ringing Control for the incident details...
Last edited by SteveDude; 01-07-2008 at 05:29 AM.
01-07-2008, 08:37 AM #27
I'm a pretty deep sleeper so it will often take a lot to wake me up. Seriously, I have three alarm clocks that go off a different intervals in the morning for work. I've been known to turn one or two alarms off without actually waking up. For the FD, I actually had to make a station alert for my house. Partly to wake me up and partly because pager reception sucks.
When I do wake up, i'm usually really out of it. My fire radio will be alerting and I will be smashing my alarm clock trying to hit snooze. Yesterday my cell phone's alarm was going off and I really almost broke it trying to push the snooze button that doesn't exist.Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.
01-07-2008, 09:19 AM #28
We have the all the lights come on and the speaker is louder than hell all at once system, and as stated in the bathroom it makes you sh%t if you haven't already. Same speaker and volume in a room that is what 8x8? Stupid. All our houses were re-built over the last 5 years and I figured they would get a "friendlier" system, guess not! The other odd thing is we have 2 tones one for EMS and one for Fire calls. The EMS one is way louder then the Fire tone, so a tone for a patient assist call makes your bowels move, and we've had people sleeep thru a tone for a house fire. Nice.
A dept in the area has the low and slow tones at night, and the red lights in the bunk hall. They also have a system (so I hear) that you punch a button in the room at night, telling the system if you are on the ambo or engine, and the house has different tones for each truck and the tones in your room only go off if it's your truck! Nice! Me thinks the engine guys were behind that move lol.........
Last edited by FHandz15; 01-07-2008 at 09:26 AM.
01-07-2008, 10:56 AM #29
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
- Northeast Coast
There has been some formal information and possibly legal action with regard to station alerting. Check with someone from Portland, ME FD. I'm pretty sure they successfully forced the City into installing ramped tones in their stations.
We had one FF go into A-FIB due to the loud buzzer Klaxon outside the dorm door. Now the dispatcher pre-announces the call over our radio freq that's piped in throughout the station then trips the buzzer. It is nicer, though not a perfect system by any means.
01-07-2008, 01:31 PM #30
- Join Date
- Sep 1999
- I don't know but I here laughing.
01-07-2008, 01:47 PM #31
01-07-2008, 09:57 PM #32
We use in house Vocal Alarm system. Prior to any audible alerting tone, a dispatcher announces, "Companies, Stand by."
It kind of takes the edge off.RK
Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.
"Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.
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.
01-08-2008, 01:30 AM #33
Most of the time unless in a dead sleep I'll wake on the first set of tones right before the pager breaks. It allows me to be awake somewhat and have a chance to turn it down before it gives me the hells broken loose signal. But I am relatively used to it now, just gets the adrenaline flowing, especially when there are mutiple departments tones following yours.JLS
51 Pride - R.I.P. Sandy
Alarm 200644004, I won't ever forget.
Remember you only have 1*.
01-08-2008, 03:22 AM #34
- Join Date
- Mar 2007
- Northwest OH
Usually the pager goes Beep Beep Beep...and i go "huh, whats that" then realize someone musta called 911, roll outta bed...put on my pants and shirt, just to realize I have to peepee, so i stumble into the bathroom, to undo those pants i just did up, make my water, and walk outside, just to realize its colder out than i thought so i turn around and get that sweatshirt or jacket, and go out to my truck and head to the station...good thing i keep my keys IN my truck...get to the station, and wake up just enough to answer the call and write the address on the board...I think im doin pretty good to do all that before i even realize I am awake...and to think someone wants a study to see what kind of effect just the beep beep beep has...I would be more interested in a study to find out HOW we do that at those hours...
01-08-2008, 08:54 AM #35
I selected the gentlest tone I could for the pager - still makes me jump though. And then trying to read the bloody thing with eyes that won't open/focus...
And Steve, what's all this 'Chief' stuff? I didn't know you pommies used yank ranks?
01-08-2008, 11:19 AM #36
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
Maybe this will help
I think that there was some type of study or research being done by the Mesa (AZ) FD and Arizona State University on the negative effects and wear and tear on FFs and high level of call volume. Maybe they are also looking into the initial physical responses of tones and lights and waking members up from a deep sleep. You can try to contact someone at Mesa FD admin and maybe they would know more or who to contact. E-mail me if you can't make any progress, and maybe I could find something for you.
01-08-2008, 04:26 PM #37
Last edited by SteveDude; 01-08-2008 at 06:02 PM.
01-08-2008, 04:27 PM #38
Last edited by SteveDude; 01-08-2008 at 05:59 PM.
01-08-2008, 05:10 PM #39
We are paid on call...but 2 of our stations have college live-ins. Both stations have a base radio that has speakers throughout the station. The live-ins in my station have also hooked up a pager with amplified charger, but using an external speaker to wake them up. A few of them are heavy sleepers! 9.9 times out of 10 our dispatchers give a "Williamson County Fire Call" pre-alert. Our tone is a solid low tone...so it's not too bad. However, the pager they are using does a long solid high beep rather than multiple beeps. I was glad to get my new pager and get rid of the solid beep, it was annoying when you were awake!The success of a fire department depends on the willingness of its members to put aside their differences and work for the benefit of the dept/community.
01-08-2008, 05:11 PM #40
- Join Date
- Jun 2001
- Lawng Eyeland, New Yawk, USA
I remember reading an article about either the City of Las Vegas or else it was Clark County (NV) Fire Rescue that had done studies on the effects of blasting their members out of bed at 3 AM. It detailed a variety of measures they undertook to ensure their FF's were able to sleep soundly while still rousing them quickly without causing a mild heart attack. Some of those measures included:
*Blue lighting in the hallway - maintained your night vision better when
hitting the head (like anyone can aim at 3 AM anyway )
*Alert tones that started low & increased in frequency (volume)
*A female dispatcher handling overnight alarms as a female's voice was
supposed to be more soothing
It was a novel approach...it sounds like they did their homework and we're genuinely looking out for their guys. Many of the career depts. out west seem dedicated to keeping their FF's healthy & do things like this. I honestly don't know what the end results have been, maybe someone from that region can share their 2 cents.
Kinda cool the way the London boys gets alerted...it seems very refined..here in the US, the simple...GET OUT...ENGINE & TRUCK GOES!!! seems to work pretty well.
Just my 2 cents...Stay Safe...
01-08-2008, 05:44 PM #41
*A female dispatcher handling overnight alarms as a female's voice was supposed to be more soothing
- Join Date
- Jul 1999
- Flanders, NJ
Now THAT is the way to get oned out.PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.
01-08-2008, 06:01 PM #42
Our station's tones have a "pre-tone" at low volume, the main tone turns on the lights and speakers.
I usually say "oh,crap", listen, and if I don't have to respond, roll back over and go back to sleep!"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
05-29-2008, 12:39 PM #43
I'm a junior with Station 54 here in NC, Rowan County, and Rowan uses a bit of a DIFFERENT tone system, one that'll, BELIEVE ME, scare the crap out of you. It's a computer generated system that blends QC-II and QC-I style tones, and if you're awake, oh that's good and dandy, but when you're asleep and you get a call with multiple stations, boy will you JUMP. Case and point, I was asleep about a month ago(My dept isn't called out too often), and a call comes in for a fire alarm at a Taxidermy Supply warehouse(False alarm thankfully. And by the by, I'm not able to respond yet, I have a scanner, she's a old Regency ACT R-10, and quite deafening! Sure competes with a minitor well.), with stations 57, 71, 76, 64, 59, 60, and 54, our tone came about middle, ours is similar to 41's, a moderate primary QC-II tone then a high pitched secondary QC-II tone, then our QC-I tone comes(Same order for all stations in the county except for 79 and 46 who seem to only have QC-II tones), which from browsing round on the net, seems to be the same as LA County Station 39's(You can find this for those who don't know on lacountyfire.org). My mind gets semi-alert by the tones of 57, 71, 76, 64, and then gets snapped awake by the QC-II tone for our station, which I've come to memorize. Believe me, it gets your heart going, and even then I wasn't responding but I shot out of bed anway! Personally though I think Rowan could do with a better system. The ONLY warning you get is if there's previous radio traffic and the dispatcher will say "All units, hold your traffic, emergency dispatch." and then there's the dispatch but that's the only warning you get really.
05-30-2008, 04:58 PM #44
- Join Date
- Nov 2004
We get a single beep (alert tone), box #, (station tones) list of apparartus to respond, box number again, then the description of the call. The tones trigger a klaxon outside the bunkroom door.
Any of our first due boxes would wake me up when on the initial box number as if someone were calling out my name. I'd sleep through the rest. Funny how the mind works. From the sound of some other feet hitting the floor, it worked that way for others as well. Others weren't jolted awake until the whooper went off.
05-30-2008, 06:51 PM #45
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
- University Park, MD
Studies I am aware of...
Heart rate and ECG responses of fire fighters.
"Data were obtained from 35 fire fighters responding to 189 alarms. Fifteen to 30 sec after an alarm heart rate showed a mean increase of 47 beats/min (range 12-117 beats/min). Approximately one minute after the alarm, while on the truck, heart rate still showed a mean increase of 30 beats/min (range 1 to 80 beats/min) above that recorded before alarm. S-T segment changes were observed in the ECG shortly after the alarm sounded. Upon approaching a fire, heart rates as high as 150 beats/min were observed before the men got off the fire truck. During actual fire fighting extremely high heart rates were observed for prolonged periods of time. One fire fighter had a mean heart rate of 188 beats/min for 15 minutes during the initial stages of a structure fire. The heart rate responses observed immediately after the alarm as well as on the truck approaching a fire indicate that the men experience a state of high anxiety. The extremely high heart rates observed for prolonged periods during fire fighting may also indicate a state of high anxiety coupled with the heavy work performed in a hot environment. Repeated exposure to states of high anxiety as well as inhaling pollutants related to the high incidence of ischemic-stress tests previously observed in fire fighters."
Journal of Occupational Medicine, 1975
Firefighters' reaction to alarm, an ECG and heart rate study.
"Firemen's reaction to alarm was investigated with a pulse rate and ECG analysis. The frame of reference was the psychophysiological alarm reaction and its relation to psychosomatic diseases. ECG and pulse rate measurements were recorded continuously from 22 first-string firemen. According to an exercise stress test, the subjects were healthy, but not more fit than a sedentary population. High pulse rates occurred during the alarm due to vigorous movement to the trucks. No anticipatory pulse rate rise occurred as the firemen approached the fire. Non-pathological ECG deviations were found 13 subjects although no abnormalities were found in the same subjects during exercise test. Different firefighting practices, environment, selection, and training might explain the differences between the findings of the present investigation and those of other recent studies."
Journal of Occupational Medicine, 1981
The 1981 study was referenced in a NIOSH alert, "Preventing Fire Fighter Fatalities Due to Heart Attacks and Other Sudden Cardiovascular Events" from June 2007."If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
FDNY E.48, SQ.18
Alexandria, VA F.D.
Rest in Peace
05-30-2008, 07:31 PM #46
- Join Date
- May 2008
There is currently a study going on in Indianapolis with IFD by Indiana University that is collecting data on night time alarm tones are part of the study.
Here is a link to a New story on it.
05-30-2008, 07:39 PM #47
The dispatch centre I work in dispatches for 2 cities and a large volunteer area in one huge region. One city just gets the automatic tones, the second city we do a voice pre-alert, and the third area is volunteer, so they're paged out.
I almost feel like HAL 9000 when I do the voice pre-alert..."Dave, Dave"...
I wonder if anyone has done a study of dispatchers and our stress reactions when the phones go off in the middle of the night. Not that we sleep, oh no, we never sleep, we're alert and awake and ready to rumble!!
PatCommunications Diva of the IACOJ, and proud member of the WOT!
Bagpipes: They put the fun back in funerals!!
05-30-2008, 10:13 PM #48
Lately it seems my body has decided not to respond to the station package... but usually waits for my engineer to kick my bed and say "Cap, we got a call".
Our alert never really caused me too much stress, and I sleep under a speaker... I usually just looked up to make sure the "E" was lit up before getting out of bed and on the engine. Oddly, Certain address seem to cause a simultaneous "DAMN IT" response in the entire crew (except the new guys) while other address and apartment #s cause a "You have got to effing kidding me... again!?!?!" response."The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten." - (John) Calvin Coolidge
"Speed is not a good alternative to lack of knowledge." -armymedic571
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