Ch. 19 Communications
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Fire Department Communications
- Methods that public can notify the communications center
- Methods of dispatchers notify FD
- Methods of info exchange between units @ scene
The general public is known as what to the fire service?
The consumer or customer
What is the general time to initiate dispatch?
Emergency Radio Traffic
- Urgent message
- Person transmitting should make urgency clear
- Dispatch should give attention tone
Who must telecommunicators stay in contact with?
The IC to receive requests for info and/or additional resources.
Public Safety Answering System (PSAP)
Any location or facility @ which 911 calls are answered by direct calling, rerouting, or diversion.
What is the standard for telecommunicator skills?
- Alarm for unstaffed stations
- Activated by tone signals that are sent over radio waves
- An advantage is that FF can carry them anywhere
- Compact radio receiver used for providing one-way communications.
- Must be compliant with NIMS
- Ten-codes eliminated and now most departments use plain english
- Clear text- Use of plain english, including certain words or phrases in radio transmissions
Where is clear text mostly used?
In the wildland fire community
Important considerations for radio talk
- Do not transmit until frequency is clear
- Think about what you want to say before keying mic
- Watch your language
- All frequencies are monitored & can be used in court
- Hold radio/mic 1-2" from mouth
- Avoid laying mic on seat because it can key the mic
- Don't touch antenna when transmitting because frequency burns may result
What should the first company to arrive on the scene do?
- Use the radio to provide a description of the conditions found
- A good report states the time of arrival & informs other units what actions might be needed upon arrival
Initial reports can include the following
- Situation found
- Actions to be taken
- Command status
- Transfer of Command
- Change in command post location
- Progress toward stabilization
- Direction of fire spread
- Problems or needs
- Anticipated actions
When are tactical channels most often used?
For large incidents such as structure fires
National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS)
- A PC based system that uses Internet to transfer data from each state to federal database
- Reports must be filled out completely and in plain english because they are available to the public
- One of the main sources of information (data, statistics) about fires in the United States; under NFIRS, local fire departments collect fire incident data and send these to a state coordinator; the state coordinator develops statewide fire incident data and also forwards information to the USFA; begun by FEMA.
How should transfer of command take place?
In person & the transfer should be reported over radio to all units @ scene & dispatch
What is often used in small communities to warn of emergencies?
- Sirens, whistles, & airhorns
- Produce a signal that civilians can hear, some people may be inclined to follow apparatus to scene
Who calls for additional resources?
Situation report on conditions
- Building & occupancy description
- Nature & extent of fire
- Attack mode selection
- Rescue & exposure problems
- Instructions to other units
- Location of IC position
- Establishing command
- Water supply situation
- Can shorten response times or enable dispatchers to handle a greater volume of calls.
- Can reduce the amount of radio traffic between telecommunicators & respnding units.
- A chronological recording of each and every activity that has been reported or dispatched over the radio.
- Used to record the incident and the activity being performed by a public safety unit.
- A manual system written on paper.
Personnel Accountabilty Report (PAR)
- Command can call for PAR at any time-
- The incident is under control
- There is a change in strategy (from offensive to defensive)
- A sudden catostrophic event (backdraft/flashover)
- An emergency evacuation
- a FF is reported missing or distressed
Incident Report Info
- FD name, incident number, shift number, & number of alarms
- Names & addresses of occupants
- Type of structure, use, constuction type, & stories
- How emergency was reported
- Type of call
- Action that was taken
- Property use info
- Number of injuries/fatalities
- Number of personnel & apparatus involved
- How/where fire started
- Method used to extinguish fire
- Estimated cost of damage
(CB) Citizens Band Radios
- Universal frequency for reporting emergencies is CB Channel 9
- When receiving call, take down caller's radio "handle" or designation
- Low-power radio transceiver that operates on frequencies authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for public use with no license requirement
- Used when IC decides all FF should immediately withdraw from building
- Two most common: Broadcast radio message on incident frequency & Sound audible warning devices on apparatus in a certain pattern
The Ten Codes
- Have been replaced by most departments to be compliant with NIMS
- These were necessary when radio equipment was not as technologically advanced.
Roles that the telecommunicator plays
- Assign a tactical frequency for the management of the operation
- Ensure that additional responding units are aware of the assigned tactical channels
- Notify other agencies
- Provide updated info that affects the incident
How can unstaffed stations be notified?
- Cell phones & other text devices
- Home electronic monitors
- Whistles or air horns
How are staffed stations notified?
- Voice alarm
- House bell or gong
- House light
- Telephone from a secure line
- Radio with tone alert
Emergency Telephone Procedures
- Dial 911
- State address where emergency is located
- Give phone number
- State nature of emergency
- State your name & location
- Stay on the line if requested to do so
Radio Fire Alarm Box
- Contains an independent radio transmitter with a battery power supply
- Some include a small solar panel at each box for recharging the unit's battery
Emergency Radio Report
Made by fire department personnel or other government workers who happen upon an emergency
Called Party Hold
- A feature that allows a dispatcher to maintain access to a caller's phone line
- System will maintain a caller's phone line and keep it open
- Reverse of called party hold
- After dispatcher hangs up the caller can keep the line open for a short period of time
Allows the dispatcher to call back a caller's phone after they have hung up
What rely's on wireless technology to receive voice or digital info?
How are wildland maps laid out?
In townships, ranges, & sections
Automatic Vehicle Locating (AVL)
- Location of fire dept unit is displayed on a map as the vehicle moves along the streets
- Enhanced 9-1-1 feature that displays the address of the party calling 9-1-1 on a screen for use by the public safety telecommunicator. This feature is also used to route calls to the appropriate public safety answering point (PSAP) and can even store information in its database regarding the appropriate emergency services (police, fire, and medical) that respond to that address.
Use of plain English, including certain standard words and phrases, in radio communications transmissions.
Predetermined number of fire units assigned to respond to an emergency.
Commercial Phone Systems
- Access the public switch network
- Means that when a phone is taken off the hook the caller hears a dial tone
- Do not have access to the public switch network & do not have a dial tone
- Directly connects to point A & point B
Phones that visually display text for hearing or speech-impaired
- Converts an image, text, or a diagram into digital signals
- Sent over a comminications medium, usually a phone line
- Fax machine at the other end converts it back to its original format
- Document emergency telephone calls, radio traffic, dispatching info, & provides an accurate account of operations
- Protects the department in case of litigation
- Also documents dispatch time & arrival on scene
Receiving Nonemergency calls from Public
- Answer calls promptly
- Be pleasant, ID Dept & yourself
- Be prepared to record messages
- Never leave line open or leave caller on hold
- Post message or deliver to person to whom it is directed
- Terminate calls courteously (Always allow caller to hang up first)
Receiving Emergency Call from Public
- ID agency
- Control converation to get info needed
- Gather info that describes emergency- Incident location, type & number of people
- Make sure to get exact location of victims
- ***Maintain contact with all units until call has been terminated
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