We use it on a regular basis for calls, meetings, trainings...etc. Cost is $800 year for a 1 year contract it goes up to like 3 years. The longer you sign up for the cheaper it gets per year. There is also a quarterly charge for the 1 800 number based on the number of call ins . Think we spent an additional $30 a year for the phone charge. All in all its not a bad idea and has worked well for us.
As far as the safety goes make the call before you get in the car. You can have it set up any number of ways but we have it defaulted to mark you as responding to the station, if you call and hang up it marks you going to the station. So far average call length has been 10 seconds or less and it posted the information to the monitor in the station before one of our guys made it 3 doors from his house to the station.
Side benefit for us this year has been the addition of a tax credit from the state. We put in a category for unable to make the call. When members use this they get marked in Firehouse report as an excused absence. This way if your at work the call doesnt get held against you for response rate that is one of the factors in getting the tax credit. You can also schedule yourself on or off duty and that will show on the monitor also.
Any other questions please email me and i'll answer as best I can. If you call them ask for Elizabeth Rusitto(?) she is vp of sales I believe and was always there with answers to whatever question we came up with during the demo and for the last year.
We use and not only the Cheif's but the firefighters as well love it and swear by it. We are a combination department, it is used for those calls that don't go over the radio. i.e. LEO need an Engine to standby while the SRT team performs a high risk entry. We use it additionally so the on duty Captain knows what volunteers are available for calls that day.
All members have a radio but the radio traffic is excessive, you all know what I'm talking about. A structure fire comes in, which for us is an all call, both volunteers and off duty paid alike. The responding units need the radio clear for additional information and first arriving scene size up. My last department everyone had a radio and there were a number of times it would take me numerous attempts to give my arriving scene size up simply coz everyone with a radio was keying up going enroute, asking for directions/address again etc.
This system removes all of that, volunteers and off duty personnel simply speed dial the number on their way to the car or whatever and either press 1 number or do nothing and the line will disconnect and automatically place you as responding. The first arriving off duty Officer at station 1 checks a TV monitor in the bay to see who is responding to the station.
Great system, fairly inexpensive and a great tool at your disposal.