Chapter 3 Communications and Alarms
Introduction • Effective emergency response • Effective telecommunication • Proactive measures to ensure communication quality • Teaching communications skills • Communications systems • Modern technology
The communications process must be complete and clearly understood in order to be effective.
Communications Personnel • Receives emergency requests • Evaluates need for response • Sounds the alarm • Provides pre-arrival instructions • NFPA 1061 • Quality training program; work performance evaluation • Adequate staffing levels at communications centers
The Communications Facility • Receive and disseminate emergency and non-emergency information • NFPA 1221 • Built in area where little risk of damage • Limited traffic and exposure to hazards • Few windows; outside entrances monitored • Backup power systems
Computers in the Fire Service • Many departments incorporate computer systems in the communications systems. • Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems • Handle increased call volume • Uses for computers • Create and store records • Statistical analysis • Provide information • Access to off-site databases
Receiving Reports ofEmergencies • Call-taking process • Speed is very important. • Telecommunicators must prioritize calls. • Important calls get fastest attention. • Calls should be answered in priority.
The work flow of call processing by a public safety telecommunicator.
Receiving Reports ofEmergencies (cont.) • Telecommunicators should: • Speak slowly and clearly • Project authority and knowledge • Use plain, everyday language • Remain polite and friendly • Telecommunicator must control the conversation. • Non-emergency calls should be accommodated.
Receiving Reports ofEmergencies (cont.) • Obtain the following information: • Location and nature of the emergency • Callback number • Caller’s location • Situation • Secure information such as landmarks • Life safety is of primary importance. • Information relayed to field units • Note caller’s proximity to incident location • Deploy emergency apparatus • Emergency medical calls
Methods of ReceivingReports of Emergencies • Common means for receiving reports • Conventional telephones • Wireless or cellular telephones • Emergency call boxes • Automatic alarms • TDD equipment • Still alarms or walk ups
Some call boxes are equipped with signal switches that allow the caller to select the type of emergency being reported.
Emergency Services Deployment Must know nature of emergency for most effective emergency response Common situations and pre-assignments Deployment plans Manual run card system Global Positioning System (GPS) Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system 3.13
AVL systems help to locate the response unit closest to an incident location. 3.14
Basic deployment process is the same for manual and automated systems. Verify location and nature of emergency Determine available resources Fire station alerting must comply with NFPA standards. CAD systems Mobile data terminals and computers Speed and accuracy Emergency Services Deployment (cont.) 3.15
Traffic Control Systems • Emergency preemption systems control traffic signals. • Transition to priority right-of-way for emergency vehicles • Allow response vehicle to change the traffic control signals. • Utilize different technology; use variety of systems.
Radio Systems and Procedures • Once personnel deployed, communicators provide support • Simplex system • Simplistic design; reduced cost • Limited range; interference • Duplex system • Two frequencies per channel • Multisite trunking • Multiple transmitters on different channels
Multisite trunked radio systems provide perhaps the best coverage and also offer direct benefits associated with the most efficient use of radio resources.
Radio Systems andProcedures (cont.) • Proper radio discipline • Avoid clipping beginning or end of message. • Be brief but concise. • Avoid touching any radio antenna. • Do not eat, or use slang, profanity, or jargon. • Speak clearly across microphone. • Portable units • Ten codes • Clear speech • Electronic tones
Proper use of a mobile radio microphone. Improper use of a mobile radio microphone.
The user has positioned the portable radio properly and is speaking across the microphone. The user shows the improper positioning of a portable radio.
Radio Reports • First unit arriving gives size-up • Correct address • Situation evaluation • Emergency location in the building • Building information, potential occupants • Request for other agency support • Location of on-scene command post • Identity of incident commander • Brief action plan for the incident
Radio Reports (cont.) • First status report and follow-up reports • Procedures for reporting life-threatening conditions and assistance • Traditional terminology • Emergency traffic: possible life-threatening information • Mayday: member is in trouble and needs assistance • Must receive priority over the radio • Department procedures mayday
Mobile Support Vehicles • Used for major events involving fire and EMS • On-scene command post • Deployment • Highly specialized • Size depends on jurisdiction
Lessons Learned • Telecommunicator is the first person “on the scene.” • Impact of citizens’ impression of department • Collects information and transmits to first responders • Answers incoming calls quickly, gains control of the call, and calms caller • Makes use of all available resources • Plays vital role in successful outcome of an emergency incident