The small town I started in,in 1973, had a unique set up. PD took the call, called the station(across the street) told the person who answered(after 2200 was usually drunk, I'm not kidding), the dispatcher would make a blind announcement on the CB base radio(ch. 11), first person down stairs would hit the siren switch, and the dispatcher , at their disgression, would start calling the volunteers one at a time on the phone. Only one engine had a radio. Both were old Johnson White Face CB's. If it was raining or humid you took your life in your own hands. Base radio was poorly grounded and you could get a nice shock from the mike. I would leave it on the hook and use a pen to press the button, after a couple of jolts.
Haha 1st off 1980's is way to young,,"County Dispatch" hahaha In one district the 7 digit # was answered at the chiefs house and an extension went Into The town police (they might answer after 50 rings?) the chiefs wife or if they were going out for the day or evening someone" else deputy would move in..lol eventually the local 911 dispatch took over about 1980... The Firehouse was literally 1000' up the road and god forbid In those early days the lights were on or you were there..lol within a few years they were dispatching Us out knowing we could be AT the other station Before the other side of town guys could get to that station.. which hurt moral there...lol . We Had a Chalk Board on the front between the doors, and
The real old timers told of Carrying "chalk" bags, that were tossed out at intersections (marking Turns) in the days before radios.. in Rural settings .. Sure some places (Kansas) it "should'nt be so hard" in hills and dales and woods forests .. you better know.....