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FIRE DEPARTMENT COMMUNICATIONS. OBJECTIVE. Without reference, identify general and key elements about fire department communication systems and operations with an overall minimum of 70% accuracy. Introduction.

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    2. OBJECTIVE • Without reference, identify general and key elements about fire department communication systems and operations with an overall minimum of 70% accuracy.

    3. Introduction • Expedient and accurate handling of fire alarms or calls for help are significant factors in the successful outcome of any incident • Failure to quickly communicate the need for help can result in large and tragic loss

    4. Fire Department Communications Include: • Methods by which the public can notify the telecommunications center of an emergency: • Methods by which the center can notify the proper firefighting forces • Methods by which information is exchanged at the scene

    5. Routine Communications • Fire fighters must also know how to handle routine communications, including non-emergency calls for business purposes or pubic inquires made directly to the station

    6. Telecommunications Center Personnel • The people calling are usually experiencing some kind of difficulty or problem • The telecommunicator has a very important role • Needs to be skilled in customer service and personal communications

    7. Roll of the Telecommunicator • Time is of the essence • Generally accepted time period of one minute to effect dispatch • Time lost can not be “made up” by the responders • Must be able to obtain complete, reliable information from the caller and prioritize requests for assistance

    8. Roll of the Telecommunicator • Ability to swiftly and accurately carry out the total dispatch function are often a matter of life or death • Must dispatch the emergency responders needed to stabilize the incident • Must know there emergency resources are in relation to the reported incident as well as their availability status • Critical that the appropriate unit closest to the incident is dispatched

    9. Roll of the Telecommunicator • Needs to know how to alert them • Must stay in contact wit the incident commander • Keep records for each request of assistance and how each one was handled

    10. Customer Service • The consumer of emergency services is the general public • They expect and are entitled to professional service • On a daily basis, receives calls from any number of people in the community seeking assistance or information • These calls can come in from victims of: • Crimes • Fires • Other disasters

    11. Customer Service • Must project a sense of competence to the caller • Makes the decision to refer caller to an appropriate person or agency • If a non-emergency call comes in over 911 or another locally used emergency line, the customer may be transferred or referred to another number to be processed

    12. Customer Service • Provide necessary information to the customer about agencies in the care that can help them • All requests should be referred to the agency that is best suited to do that evaluation

    13. Telecommunicator Skills • NFPA 1061, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Pubic Safety Telecommunicator, contains minimum job performance requirements for the public safety telecommunicator • Telecommunicator should meet the requirements of that standard • Be able to maintain a positive attitude throughout the communication process

    14. Telecommunicator Skills • NFPA 1061 suggests traits and personal characteristics: • Adjust to various levels of activity • Handle multitasking • Make decisions and judgements based on common sense and values • Maintain composure • Form conclusions from disassociated facts • Handle criticism

    15. Telecommunicator Skills • More traits and personal characteristics suggested by NFPA 1061: • Remember and recall information • Deal with verbal abuse • Function under stress • Maintain confidentiality • Ability to communicate • Map-reading skills

    16. Communication Skills • The communication skills required by a telecommunicator are: • Basic reading skills – sufficient ability to read and understand so that basic policies, instructions, and direction can be given in writing and understood • Basic writing skills – keyboarding and computer literacy are vital when a written description is required. Must be able to create readable reports, memos, and letters. The reports generated may be used by the media, court, or the general public

    17. Communication Skills • The communication skills required by a telecommunicator are: • Ability to speak clearly – with annunciation and proper grammar and sentence construction. How to control voice tone and speed. • Ability to follow written and verbal instructions – know local procedures and local, state/province, and federal radio regulations. Responsible for taking directions from different sources. Have the ability to read or listen and execute those directions without further instruction

    18. Map Reading • Vital for the telecommunicator to be able to look at a map and locate specific points • Many of the newest Computer-Aided-Dispatch (CAD) systems contain sophisticated mapping displays • Automatic Vehicle Locating (AVL) systems adds even more need for the ability to read and use maps

    19. Map Reading • This technology displays the location of the fire department unit is displayed on a map as the vehicle moves up and down the streets • Added to this is the current growth in wireless communications devices such as cellular phones • Future standards will require that a 911 call placed by a wireless phone provide X and Y coordinates for the location of the caller

    20. Telecommunications Center • Is the nerve center of emergency response • Point through which nearly all information flows, is processed, and then acted upon • May be located in a fire station or separate building • In some jurisdictions, the fire telecommunications center will be a part of a larger, joint telecommunications center for allemergency services

    21. Telecommunications Center • Some of the more common pieces of equipment include the following: • Two-way radio for communicating with personnel at the emergency • Tone-alert equipment for dispatching resources • Telephones for handling both routine and emergency phone calls • Direct-line phones for communications with hospitals, utilities, and other response agencies • Computers for dispatch information and communications

    22. Telecommunications Center • More common pieces of equipment include: • Tape recorders to record phone calls and radio traffic • Alarm-receiving equipment for municipal alarm box systems and private fire alarm systems • Communications equipment • Telecommunicator must be able to operate fire department communications equipment

    23. Telecommunications Center More Common Pieces of Equipment Include:

    24. Alarm Receiving Equipment • Fire alarms may be received from the public in these ways: • Public alerting systems • Private alarm systems

    25. Telephones • Is used to transmit voice messages, computer information, and documents • Public telephone system is the most widely used method for transmitting fire alarms • In outlying suburbs or rural settings it is the only method of rapid communication • Major advantage of telephones is that the telecommunicator can ask the caller about the nature of the emergency, and obtain the address or callback number

    26. Commercial Phone Systems • Commercial phone systems access the public switch network

    27. Direct Lines • Differ from the normal phone lines in that they do not have access to the public switch network and do not have a dial tone • The line is directly connected between point A and B • Common applications for these lines would be between the telecommunications center and a fire station or hospital to request an ambulance or a helicopter • Support signals from alarm systems and radio systems

    28. TDD/TTY/Text Phones • A special communication device has been designed to allow the hearing or speech impaired community to communicate • Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD), Teletype (TTY), and Text phone are phones that can visually display text • Term most often used is Text phone

    29. Wireless • Wireless phones are basically phone devices that are sophisticated two way radios

    30. Fax Machines • Takes a picture, writing, or a diagram and converts the image into digital signals • These digital signals are sent over a communications medium, most commonly a telephone line • Radio is another possible medium • At the receiving end, the other fax machine takes the digital signals and converts them back to the picture or text

    31. Radios • The purpose of radio communication it to tie all elements of the organization together so that each element can perform its task • Individuals who operate radio equipment should realize that all radio transmission can be monitored by the news media and the public • Be aware of they are saying and never transmit a message that may bring liability or embarrassment to the department

    32. Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) • In some jurisdictions, computers perform many dispatch functions • Assisted or aided by the performance of duties by a computer system • Can significantly shorten response time • Enable dispatchers to handle a greater volume of calls

    33. Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) • Reduce the amount of voice communications • CAD system can be as simple as one that retrieves run card information • Complex as one that selects and dispatches units • Determines the quickest possible route to the scene • Monitors the status of units

    34. Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) • Transmits additional information via mobile data terminals • It is difficult to imagine a major operation involving dozens of units and many calls a day without some type of computer assistance

    35. Recording Information • Recording information communicated during emergency operations is very important • Two methods of recording information: • Voice Recorders • Radio Logs

    36. Voice Recorders document: • Telephone calls on emergency lines • Radio traffic • Dispatching information • Provide accurate account of operations • Protect the department and its members when questions are raised

    37. Voice Recorders document: • Such evidence as dispatch time and company arrival • If disconnected, the information can be received and played back • Devices either run continuously or intermittently • Be capable of instant playback • Automatically record the time of call

    38. Radio logs • Used to record the incident and location of each activity being performed • Manual system entered into paper • Chronological recording of each and every activity • A telecommunicator can determine which units are currently on assignment

    39. Receiving Non-emergency Telephone Calls from the Public • Any call should be treated as a possible emergency call until it is determined it is not • Need to differentiate between those requests that are emergencies and those that are not • Many business calls come in on the public telephones

    40. Procedures for answering business calls are: • Answer calls promptly • Be pleasant and identify the department or company and yourself • Be prepared to take accurate messages by including, date, time, name of caller, caller’s number, message and your name • Never leave the line open or someone on hold for an extended period of time

    41. Procedures for answering business calls are: • Post the message or deliver the message promptly to the person to whom it is intended • Terminate calls courteously. • Always hang up last

    42. Receiving Reports of Emergencies from the Public • One of the most critical periods for telecommunications is when an alarm is received • Should be well trained to get the right information quickly to start the units on their way

    43. Answering an Alarm • For an alarm, the following should be accomplished: • Identify the agency • Ask if there is an emergency and, if so, ask about the problem • Have questions organized to control the conservation • Ask questions in an assertive voice • Follow department SOPs

    44. Answering an Alarm • Get the kind of information that pictures what type of emergency call really exists: • Incident location • Type of incident/situation • When the incident occurred • Make sure to get the exact location of the alarm • Ask the cross streets and the identifying landmarks, if necessary