How are you alerted to calls?

How are you alerted to calls?


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Doug

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May 23, 2010
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This is primarily for the fire and EMS crowd, but the boys (and girls) in blue are welcome to throw their two cents in, as well.


Technology has opened up a great deal of new venues to alert responders to a call. With that, how are you alerted to calls? If your method of choice isn't included, please feel free to specify below.
 
We get alerted via County text message and VHF radio! Though half the time i'm out of range for the radio, and i don't have a phone signal!
 
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If it is a call for the FD I am on, It comes across via voice, alphie pager, and text message (if your phone is set up for it). We are trying to get rid of the alphie pagers and just have people use there phones with text messages. Everyone on the department now has it set up for phones, only a handful of us carry the pager still. Those of us that do carry the alphie pager, carry it because of being an officer on the department (which get special pages) or involved in special operations for the county.


Our voice pager goes over 33.86 (old county system) and our 800mhz digital trunked system.


A page that comes from the county for any special operations does not have a voice page at all, just alphanumeric. But we get it via our alphie pagers, phones, and e-mail. Oh yeah, it is sent 7 times also. So that is 21 times we get the message. It is awesome when it happens in the middle of the night.
 
Right now with all of my departments it is a voice page system.


2 of them are also adding a calling system with text messages.


The other is on 800 mhz trunked and unless there is something I'm missing, they don't make pagers for that, so we still have a VHF paging system.
 
Our Department and First Responders are alerted via text and voice. It's a very effective system which has worked for us the past couple years. However, with our transition over to the provincewide P25 network, we will also have the ability to be audibly toned when a call comes in.
 
I have three options.. Alpha Page; Text Message sent to my cell phone; and Tone Pager (Minitor V).





I prefer the Alpha Page or Texts. Hate carrying my Minitor.
 
I'll get texed and beep'd through my Minitor V. I like the texts because they provide alot of information, but they're about 30sec behind the voice page.
 
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VHF tone/voice simulcasted on the 800 digital trunked system. The radios also have a "page channel" that functions like a minitor if you choose to use it, and alpha pagers and or text to your phone if you set that up.


The problem with using anything other than the 800 radio is all you receive is the dispatch, nothing else. No updates or additonal info.


So for me, It's easier to keep my portable with me and use the page function on it versus carrying the other devices. The Motorola XTS series is not light by any means, but it allows me to receive any additional info while responding.


Chris
 
I dont understand why you would like to get toned out with a cell phone text in my opinion you dont get enough information that way i mean you dont get any up to date actual on time orders or change in directions i love my pager. A local VOL FD where i work as a cop has i guess the "phone tree" where one person has the FD phone and county dispatch or the police officer on shift has to call them and then they call everyone else in my opinion thats retarded as well since most of the time the person with the phone is Biased and only calls certain people and not everyone since the same 4 people always show up to fire.
 
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We are dispatched via voice pagers. But the new CAD system comming in is supposed to be tied into the radio and is supposed to have an option to send text messages as well... But only time will tell if that will be utilized...
 
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We get paged both via voice pager and by text message. It's nice to have both as I can read the text if I don't get the voice pager if I am out of range. We have to sign a contract saying that we cannot use the text message as a primary paging system.
 
voice pager (minitor) and text message. and ISU_Cyclone, I can tell you right now that is ridiculous! hahaha. But I mainly rely on text messages as the pager stays in the car for when I'm out of cell service. My FD texts have their own ringtone that plays our tones and a Q siren.
 
Have the text and phone alerts for eDispatches as Minintor pager tone which is just about as loud as the pager. We are dispatched by the S.O. who laid off all dispatchers and now the deputies dispatch us, which blows! The new CAD is supposed to have the text option, but right now, they can't even figure out how to send a run time fax from the system. Guess we'll stick with the minitors and eDispatches for awhile.
 
Station 3 said:
I dont understand why you would like to get toned out with a cell phone text in my opinion you dont get enough information that way i mean you dont get any up to date actual on time orders or change in directions i love my pager. A local VOL FD where i work as a cop has i guess the "phone tree" where one person has the FD phone and county dispatch or the police officer on shift has to call them and then they call everyone else in my opinion thats retarded as well since most of the time the person with the phone is Biased and only calls certain people and not everyone since the same 4 people always show up to fire.


This is what I get for a text and email message; the voice dispatch is pretty much the same, except the nature of the call may be better described (e.g., smoke in the building vs building fire). This is a call from yesterday (changed the caller's info and the address to a block vs the specific address).


[49]: MULTI FAMILY DWE (APTF): 11xx WASHINGTON BL (MONTROSE AV AND DOMER AV): TEXT:proQA recommends dispatch at this time NAME:JOANE \\PH:301 555 1212 (MTF): E849 TW810 AE27 HTK06 E831 PE841 TK715 BO886


I also built an all call system, so that authorized (well, informed, anyway) people can send an email and it hits the newsletter (all email addresses), as well as all cell phones in the system (by way of using the email to text features). It helped when I got there and we had fire blowing out of the house; got people to fill the station and put additional apparatus in service.
 
We carry M5 pagers and higher ups (chiefs, station offc, etc) carry TK3170 radio with encoding enabled. And most everyone gets it to their phone via SMS or email. Dept requires an audible device as your primary means of receiving a call since SMS/email systems can be more unreliable than the radio system.
 
For my FD in WV we are paged via VHF and dispatched over that. Also, our FD has a siren that goes off, but only from 6:00am to 11:00pm since the people around the station weren't too fond out it going off in the middle of the night. My ambulance service in IN is dispatched via VHF pagers and simulcast on 800mHz radio.
 
TritonBoulder47 said:
We are dispatched via voive pagers. But the new CAD system comming in is supposed to be tied into the radio and is supposed to have an option to send text messages as well... But only time will tell if that will be utilized...

Some ppl do get a pre-alert before the voice pager goes off lol
 
DT_Fire said:
I have three options.. Alpha Page; Text Message sent to my cell phone; and Tone Pager (Minitor V).



I prefer the Alpha Page or Texts. Hate carrying my Minitor.
I'll trade you this: ai55.tinypic.com_20i8k1d.jpg to have my old Minitor V back any day! My county switched to strictly digital/alpha paging about 2 years ago and we all hate it. I never wakes me up in the middle of the night, and then try getting your eyes focused to read it at 2am. Would love to the the minitor's back!
 
I get alerted for fire calls via voice page (Minitor 3) and i also get a text..but i dont rely on those primarily as they can be late...even up to a full day late. And to get me up form sleeping, i have my Minitor 3 in a Charger/Amplifier. Sometimes i even sleep through that.
 
I get alerted many many ways.


When the tones drop, I have two pagers that remain in my bedroom in amplified chargers. One monitors the main fire dispatch channel and the other monitors a fire dispatch transmitter on the east side of the county (where I live). I also have my normal pager on vibrate sitting on top of a cookie tin with some change on top of it.


Then comes the text message over my Blackberry from our CAD system, then a text message from another service (that is sent from our CAD then distributed to the members of our VFD that have cell phones). Within 1 minute or so, if the call is at night/early morning I get a personal phone call form the Chief telling me if he is going to the station (he lives right next door to the station) and which trucks he is rolling until I get on scene and advise otherwise. Then comes 5 or 6 more phone call while enroute from the remainder of out officers that cannot think for themselves at times.


I used to use the older and larger Plectron receivers back home, and man those things worked better than pagers, hand down.
 
call/volunteer fire department with fulltime/volunteer EMS


Minitor III-V pagers, some people have scanners (i've got a bearcat mobile in my truck), and officers and EMTs have radios.
 
We are issued a kenwood radio, We are toned out. We have a set channel that is setup for tone only, so we dont have to listen to the repeater all night. We have been told that we are about to get the ability to have pages texted to us, hope that comes soon, everyone on my station goes to church on sundays and we end up getting calls, but none of us take our radios inside. We do also call each other, If im out of area i will call and let a few of the others know... I also have a Minitor V at home that has stored voice, It is great for the middle of the night calls when you dont remember, just sometimes forget to grab it on the way out the door....
 
We arent alerted directly. Not even like per area. Basically the dispatcher from out mother brigade lets us know if there is a call for a fire or rescue or what in what are and its up to the people who want to to respond. Doesnt matter what town they are from. makes for a big mess lol
 
Ambulance Service we are tone/voiced paged using UHF, with a text message back up to alpha pager or phone. On the ambulance we also have the call sent to our MDT as soon as we are marked as dispatched,so if you are in the unit you know you have a call before the radios alert.


Rescue Squad we are tone/voice paged using UHF as well. Then we are alpha paged from the dispatched center, however this page is sent as an email to our email server and then resent to any members who want to be on that list. No MDT on this unit.


VFD just the same as TNFF412N, as we are in the same county for this.
 
In the past few years my county has went through a major upgrade to the 911 center. In the past the big thing was the house siren's which for some stations would blow for 10 minutes at a time. Now that every station in the county has pagers and theres no more dead spots in the county they are actually reliable to alert you when theres a call. In the past six months or so weve gone to Ealerts. Which is only nice at 3am when your asleep at the ambulance station and you didnt hear the dispatch. But with the combination of of pagers and the new text message alerts alot of stations are doing away with house sirens or limiting them to a minute or so.
 
Volunteer fire- Voice paging, with alpha-numeric back-up.


EMS- Radios (xts 5000) are set off by dispatch, with alpha-numeric back-up.
 
Phone call from dispatch, when I'm on call. Only because there is only one or two of us on call at any given time.
 
For my agency (reserve police) we use text messaging. All our officers (45 officers) register their cell phones & we have a web portal that sends out text meesage or email or both when there is a call out/ call back. Seems to work very well for us.
 
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Being on two services I have multiple ways so I cant use the I didnt hear it excuse. I carry a Minitor 5 for dual use with both fire and Ambo. That being if im out and about. If I am listening in at home for Fire only im using my Harris P7200 portable listening to the 800mhz EDACS system here. If I am listening at home for Ambo only I can use the pager or use my Kenwood TK2170 that has the Page feature put in it.
 
100% Volunteer Fire/Rescue Dept - Issued Minitors, mix of IV/V at the moment, and also issued a VHF mobile radio for our vehicles. Alterted by tones from 1 of 3 different agencies, depending on how the call comes in. (911 is a standalone transfer only agency in my county.) I've been trying to get a text message system set up, but without a central dispatch it's impossible to accomplish 100%. Not all of our members carry their Minitors (like some of the officers, for example,) but they all carry cell phones.
 
Prior FD: Voice Pager, House Siren, and Text Message


FT EMS: Voice Pager, Alpha Pager, and Alert sent to truck CAD


PT EMS: Voice Pager, Text Message, and Alert sent to truck CAD.


Dispatch is on VHF and is broadcasted over the 800 System as well minus the tones.


Our county Requires the depts to provide two means of Alert. It use to be Voice and Alpha but if the siren was still in service they did not have to have a alpha pager. Most have gone to Voice, Text, and/or Siren.
 
Tones drop, pagers alert, then the siren starts its cycle. Its a good system except if your out of town. The pagers work 15 miles north and further but 8 miles to the south and nothing at all. Im trying to figure out this problem myself. Our dispatcher has the text alert but they only offer it to thier emts, since its a private emt company/ dispatch/ 911 center.
 
theroofable said:
Tones drop, pagers alert, then the siren starts its cycle. Its a good system except if your out of town. The pagers work 15 miles north and further but 8 miles to the south and nothing at all. Im trying to figure out this problem myself. Our dispatcher has the text alert but they only offer it to thier emts, since its a private emt company/ dispatch/ 911 center.

Sounds like you're either running on a simplex radio system, or you need a higher/better repeater. My pager alerts with the tones in most of the surrounding counties. I've had it work over 40 miles away before, but the audio was crappy.
 

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