I work fulltime at my local Police Department as well as a captain on my local fire department and I am wondering if your agencies have combined communication centers or do you have seperate centers? My department covers 3 different law enforcement agencies, 3 ambulance services and 11 different fire departments including rural departments. When I am busy with a couple of things going on it gets crazy in the center with law enforcement, fire and ems talking at the same time and walking over each other! If your department is combined do you have the same problems or is it just my department? PLEASE let me know
we have 9 fire companys, and our local police dept. in the same communications room under 2 seperate frequencies (1 for the police, and 1 for the 9 fire companys) it gets a tad bit overwheming at times from what i've herd
Omnis cedo Domus
My county has been pushing for regional dispatch for a few years now. At this time they have 9 fire/ems agencies and 12 law enforcement agencies with 1 more jurisdiction making the switch (fire and cops) 2-1-09. It is actually working better than expected but still not like having dispatcher who actually know where the hell you are going. The center is run by the Sherrif so it is still geared toward cops, but it is getting better with more fire/ems coming on board. It seems when you only have 1 fire/ems agency it is easy to get over looked, but 9 and soon to be 10 it is a little harder.
I will also add we are on a county wide 800 MHz trunk system with a main fire channel and two main law enforecement channels with multiple ops channels for fire/ems and tac channels for cops.
i work in the central dispatch for the forestry commission of the 75 counties in Arkansas we cover 69 counties and 4 law officers that cover the whole state, and planes that do detection flights and during fire season we have 4 tankers.
Our 9-1-1 system is "police based", where calls go to the local police agency first. With my department, it is either the Sheriff's Office or the local police department, if we contract for that area. They then transfer the call to our regional fire-rescue communications center where EMD is done and the units are dispatched.
Our communications center is a pretty good size. We have 4 radio positions, 3 call-takers (who can also double as a radio position for fires or other large incidents), a Dispatch Supervisor and a Fire Operations Officer (Captain) who is a staffing and resource officer. We dispatch for 49 of our own fire stations, and 5 municipalities (which combined is another 15 stations). There are a few more cities that are planning on coming into our dispatch system in the near future.
We also alert the two local private ambulance services for calls where they are required to respond for BLS transport of certain patients, and for our two TraumaHawk Air-Rescue helicopters.
Our entire county (Police, Fire, and EMS) is on a Motorola 800 MHz SmartZone trunked radio system. The fire stations are alerted via "rip-and-run" printers, alpha-numeric pagers, and the Locution computer voice alerting system in the firehouses. MDT's (laptops) are being phased in as well, but not all units have them yet.
As a backup to the Locution system, a UHF Motorola QuickCall II two-tone sequential tone alerting system is still in place. This was used exclusively before we had our computer upgrade a few years ago.
Our system works pretty well.
Capt. Craig Prusansky
Palm Beach County (FL) Fire-Rescue
Years ago when I was involved in communications, I dispatched PD, FD, EMS and public works for 6 towns in southern NH. You are not alone as all centers with multi agency dispatching with limited personell, get busy
As a firefighter we are dispatched by a police fire dispatch center which handles 3 fire departments and 3 police departments. We get ignored by them all the time cause police is priority one. We share the same dispatch channel We use to share the same dispatch channel with 21 departments. Most of the department run more then 700 calls a year the highest department being around 7000. Now there was a consolidated dispatch center that opened up that took away 6 towns and put them on there own repeater. Two town fire department switch too a fire only dispatch which i dispatch for. which left 13 departments on the main channel. I dispatch fire a fire only dispatch center which dispatches for 4 fire departments we handle 3 mabas division. We are EMD trainied. All calls are answered at the towns 911 psaps and transfered to us for dispatching. I believe that fire and police should be dispatched apart from one another. I think Police and fire are two totally different worlds that need to be specialized. Most of our fire dispatchers are firefighter part time or full time. We know exactly what's going on in the field whats going to unfold and understand the stress the ic is in and can be 5 steps ahead of him getting his resources ready making his job alot easier. You loose that with Police dispatchers that have to dispatch fire. We are lucky to get the right set of tones or all our auto aid toned out the right way. It does come down to training It could work with the proper training program and leadership but That rarely happens in this business at least in these parts.
With our Communications, the system all run off 911 center we have 2 to 3 call takers and they send it to the one of many dispatcher, police, city, county, or state. Or city fire, ems, Air ambulance or county fire. The county fire is transmitted with a duel single vhf and 800 mhz. trunking system. The county fire depts. have minitors with duel tones to activate each dept. which we can set to scan all county depts. or just our own. Our 800 radios has 38 channels one for each of the 15 county fire depts. And the airport. Something like 8 county wide tack channels, haz-mat channels, ems channels, air care channels, a talk around channel, we use for short distance, a mile or less for basically traffic control. A channel for wx net which the National Weather Service and OEM uses during storms. So my point would be that here, we all have our own frequency's, And of course the dispatcher can patch any and all channels together so when we need to, we can communicate with whom we need to on one channel. Or we can just switch to their private channel. At our fire dept, we have our own vhf repeater and antenna tower with vhf radios in every vehicle, along with the 800 mhz. Along with that we have a Kenwood t2000 amateur radio in our command vehicle which has communication capabilities from 160 meters to 70 cm. And we have I think 5 or 6 personal who are amateur radio operators. I believe you can’t have too much communication capabilities. If you lose one you can use another.
In Aiken county, SC, we have 4 dispatch centres. DOE Savannah River Site has their own Police/Fire/EMS. The two major cities of North Augusta and Aiken each have their own Police/Fire dispatch. Medical calls in those cities are forwarded on to County dispatch. Aiken County dispatch is run by the Sheriff. Law enforcement, Fire, and EMS calls for anywhere but SRS and the two cities come there. County Fire is set up on 6 towers at the moment, each on a separate UHF frequency. SO and EMS traffic is on Palmetto 800. The Cities are on UHF. Aiken County has about 125,000 residents, and is a little smaller than the state of Rhode Island. We're primarily rural with farming, chickens, and equestrian land use, but each of the cities have many of the same problems of larger cities, with the 2nd largest city in GA right over the border.
We're probably fast approaching the point where we would benefit from a unified dispatch centre.