The problem is to much traffic on main channel, We are considering doing fire sene assignment from Tach channel apon arrivel. Mabe some Fire ground Officers can give some feed back on how you all do your dispatch.


Thx, Derrick G. Plyler (Firefighter)

Gooches VFD



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when we get dispatched out to a call after the dispatch tell us what the incident she/he tell us which tac channel to use eather 1 or 2 or 3 

This will probibly be a process where you are based on the politics of your dispatch system.

In the case of our county we use a trunked 800 mhz system and it replaced a vhf high band system. In addition to complaints about the cost, there was a "control" issue which consisted of the fire department going from a 4 channel system to (what we were told would be) an unlimited system but the politics of control became an early issue because of mistrust in the form of each fire district wanting their own "channel" and us in dispatch saying no, we'd like to see a 3 dispatch "channel" system (north-east & west) and thats what we got

When i say control i mean some fire chiefs was concerned that he would not have a radio system that "he controled" (meaning that he feard the county could shut off their system when petty wars came up-which was slang for chief A having a pissing constest with chief B this month and insisting that no unit from chief A's department being allowed to operate on chief B's channels for any reason and neither wanting to have to listen to their calls)--This was quickly squashed and it became a non issue but it you get what i mean about politics

I was a dispatcher at the time and we insisted that there be a county wide "911" channel so that every agency on it could "call 911" whenever they needed it-initially it was squashed but in the end we got it. Second we wanted an emergency service chit-chat channel incase the cops needed to talk to fire or fire to EMS (or everyone on one)---(came in handy for shootings and if the scene was safe) because the police were hell bent on no firefighter or ambulance being able to "go on police channels"--not that we wanted to but like i said, calls involving violence broke that belief

What i mean by all of this is that FIREFIGHTER SAFETY should be the excuse for whatever your system decides to do. SOP's vary from place to place and i am of the belief that once a firefighter declairs a mayday they OWN THAT CHANNEL until he or she is rescued so my suggestion would be that you get as many channels as your system or department is comfortable with and if possible, all working incidents are switched to a fireground or TAC channel from a dispatch channel while ENROUTE because (in my expierence on both sides of the microphone)-trying to get everyone to switch to another channel once on scene gets lost on those firefighting, flooded by adrenilene, recieving orders, doing things etc.

put out the call on FIRE1 and dispatch has them respond and work the fire on TAC2.

If a mayday is declaired everyone not involved switches to TAC3 or remains on TAC2 and stays off the air and dispatch should assign a dedicated INCIDENT DISPATCHER to the fire or incident

good luck with this, radio's and their use is a deep subject

I'm not an officer, but in my department and surrounding jurisdictions we switch to a tach channel when we arrive on scene (repeated or non-repeated, depends where we are); the Incident Commander checks back in with dispatch when resources arrive or conditions change on scene (this is called a PAR check). It cuts down on traffic and honestly, can be less embarrassing. You know what I'm talking about, there is always that guy hollerin' over the radio to so-and-so about such-and-such, and usually it is something inappropriate radio traffic (Dispatch doesn't need to know you are coming from your house to get the truck and head to the scene, that you're sending in a guy named "String Bean" with a thermal imaging camera to do a search, etc.).

On a side note Jessie, while I totally understand & agree, things like that fall under a seperate catagory of radio discipline.  There needs to be a certain level of it regardless of what channel you are on. In my opinion, some departments need to train on the usage of radios.  What to say and not to say. But maybe thats just me......

We use A LOT of channels over here.  You switch to your assigned Tac channel when dispatched on a box alarm.  There are set ones but it changes depending what is going on in the city.  There are plenty of times we have more than one box alarm going on so we obviously can't use the same channel.

Also on our dispatch channel, no one talks except for the dispatchers.  If you have something to say to them you go to the appropriate channel for the type of run it is.

Tac 01 - Dispatch

02 - Local Alarms such as automatic fire alarm, residential fire alarm, elevator rescue or something else that's small and requires an engine or truck

03 - Fire Ground

04 - VRS which is used in large buildings where radio coverage isn't working properly.  We have a lot of buildings like this in Downtown DC

07 - Fire Ground 2(separate incident going on)

08 - VRS 2

11 - EMS on the east side of the city

12 - EMS on the west side

13 - EMS Liaison Officer(give reports to find out what hospital is available)

14 - EMS Liaison Officer 2

16 - Works within a certain distance.  We sometimes use it for chatter between the engine and truck on something like an AFA

Then there's the Alpha bank.  A-03 and A-07 are additional sets of fire ground channels for more incidents.

Bravo bank will you B-03 and B-07 for something like a gas leak or MVA with entrapment or a special rescue.

H-1 through 16 for hospitals in the city.

Both departs I'm on run on county wide fire systems.  I'm working two different countys and they both work the same. We arrive on the main, then switch to our dept tactical channel. If its a working fire we are assigned a fireground channel by dispatch and switch to that after arrival.  The tactical channel is not monitored by dispatch, so for fire alarms ext thats fine. Command monitors both channels if he needs to get ahold of dispatch he calls on the main.


If its a working fire everyone and command stays on the fire ground. Dispatch will monitor that if a mayday or anything important comes out.

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