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  • Station Alerting

    Hi all. One of the firehouses I'm at is in need of a decent alerting system. As it goes, we don't have a lot of money to spend on something like this, and as with lots of things in the station, I'm looking to do a little DIY installation. Anybody have any suggestions?

  • #2
    FYI, our dispatch uses a two-tone paging system.

    Comment


    • #3
      Be more specific about what you want it to do.
      Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

      Comment


      • #4
        Do you already have a station alert receiver? If so, how are you currently using it?

        Does it have a relay that closes when the tones drop? Is that relay already in use?

        Are you just interested in everyone knowing the tones have dropped?
        Or do you want dispatch audio broadcast throughout the station?

        If the latter, do you want it to broadcast the audio all the time, or just after the tones drop?

        How many discrete areas are there in the station (ie, are there areas that will have to have a speaker/alerting device because it wouldn't be heard otherwise)?

        Depending on how you answer the above questions, your solution may be as easy as a few doorbells or buzzers and a relay or two, or it might involve an amp and some speakers, or a combination of the above. All of which are DIY-able.
        Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

        Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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        • #5
          How about a pager in an amplified charger? You would need to be peeled off the ceiling when the Minitor pager i had was plugged into the charger\amplifier. One in the dorm, and engine room should do it.

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          • #6
            Right now we have a motorola pager on an amplifier. It's hooked up to one wall mounted speaker in what used to be only one room. Now we have segmented part of the firehouse and made one room sleeping quarters, and the other room a day room. I'd like to have a speaker in both the day room and the dorm room, and I'd like for the lights in both rooms to be activated with the tones.

            I was not here when the current system was put in. I looked up the Federal Signal "Informer" and it seemed like that would be a good choice, but like I said I need something that I can do myself, that I can find some kind of resources on to hook up properly.

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            • #7
              Ok. What you want to do can be quite simple depending on your abilities and how much money you can spend.

              The first thing you need is a radio receiver with the ability to generate a relay contact closure when the tones go off. If your amplifier charger has this already, you can just use that (most do not, some do). The F/S Informer would do it too and give you more flexibility with after-alert behavior. The Informer will let you turn the lights and/or sound off again after X seconds too. If you happen to have a Motorola CDM750/1250 lying around, it can do this out of the box too.

              The second thing you need is something to control the lights. X10 is the answer to this. Yes, X10 the home automation remote control gizmos. You put X10 light switches on whatever you want to turn on/off with the alert. Then you put an X10 powerflash module on the relay output of the alert receiver (http://www.smarthome.com/4060/X10-Po...terface/p.aspx). This thing will use the relay contact closure to trigger you remote controlled lights on and off. Yes, this works awesome. I did it in my house (yes, my house, I know).

              The third thing you need is audio and speakers. You really should be feeding the audio into some kind of amplifier and then out to your speakers. The audio amp in the chargers and the informer are not designed to power multiple speakers. There is nothing high tech here. Just speakers and wire. You can also use the second relay on the Informer to turn the speakers on and off in the bunk room if you want.


              Products you'll need:

              Federal Signal Informer
              http://www.pwservice.us/CP/scripts/p...p?idProduct=39
              These people will program it all for you too. You will need the +$90 dual relay option. You do NOT need FSK or EAS.

              X10 Wall switch
              http://www.smarthome.com/2207/X10-Pr...W-WS13A/p.aspx

              X10 Wall switch for three-way switches (no flouresant unfortunately)
              http://www.smarthome.com/2032/X10-Th...PLW02-W/p.aspx

              X10 Powerfash module
              http://www.smarthome.com/4060/X10-Po...terface/p.aspx
              Last edited by nmfire; 08-16-2010, 11:55 AM.
              Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

              Comment


              • #8
                An alternative to the Motorola monitor is Veetronix. We're using one at our local ambulance station to do pretty much what you are asking for. This outfit offers it for $310 sans options. Please not that I am not endorsing any one vendor. I found several who offered it.

                Our county recently replaced all the station/siren alert monitors with the Informer. They appear to be working well.

                NM's suggestions look good. I'd also recommend contacting a friendly electrician, who may be able to suggest some relay options for controlling your lights.

                A small PA amplifier would cover your needs with regard to pushing audio throughout the building, which could also include the apparatus bay. Just make sure you keep your impedences straight.

                Such an amp could also provide you with the ability to add a mic (for in-station paging or announcents) or feed other audio (music, audio from the big game/race, etc) over the system.

                Keeping the paging receiver in alert (muted) mode during quiet times would take care of any complaints about hearing all of the traffic all of the time - unless you want to.
                Last edited by tree68; 08-16-2010, 01:11 PM.
                Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  That does appear to be a more economical version of the Informer. It isn't as fancy but will do exactly what you need.
                  Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Is it a better option to have the informer programmed with purchase or to program it yourself?

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                    • #11
                      Me, I like programming things myself. However the programming interface and software appears to cost $365 so I'd go with pre-programming if I were you.
                      Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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