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Can anyone donate a VHF Repeater?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by EastKyFF
    Unless there has been a drastic change, ISO does not give full credit for third-party dispatching
    I don't think they give any credit for text messaging.

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    • #17
      Can you send me an email , so that I can respond with prices. Please send to mantorvillefd@kmtel.com
      Thanks.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by RFDACM02 View Post
        I'd be surprised if any cell carrier would "allow" this as a primary means of emergency notification. Most in our area (big ones) will not guarantee coverage or the time to send messages, thereby making it unreliable enough to not meet communications standards? We use Iamresponding as a peripheral to radio based dispatching but are constantly being warned that it cannot serve as the primary means of emergency notification.
        The dispatch still goes out over the dispatch radio, and if people have their handhelds, they can still hear them. If they are in range. When we were just using radios, we had averaged 4 members of the department actually receiving the tones the first time out. A fairly large call area, being at the edge of the range for the county tower and repeater, and people working outside the county meant that very few people ever heard what was on the radio. 4 members of the 16 on the department is 25%. That was the average. We had multiple instances of having people show up at the station and having to call to try and get enough help to roll truck.

        Now that we have added SafAlert, of the 16 members we have on the department, we have had fewer than 15 instances of a member not receiving a text. Most were because a member changed cell providers/numbers and didn't tell me, so their info wasn't changed in the system. This is out of 688 text messages sent (43 alerts x 16 members). Most receive the text within 45 seconds to a minute of the radio dispatch, the rest as soon as they drive through an area with coverage. Could be just a coincidence, because we don't have a huge call volume , so I don't have a large sample size. But so far, it looks like it is cutting down significantly on response time, and we have not had a call yet where fewer than 6 firefighters showed up on the first page out.

        We don't have an NFPA-compliant engine, so it will not affect our NFPA or ISO rating, anyway. But to me it would seem hard to justify reducing the rating when the statistics seem to indicate a faster, more reliable response.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by WVFD705 View Post
          The dispatch still goes out over the dispatch radio, and if people have their handhelds, they can still hear them. If they are in range. When we were just using radios, we had averaged 4 members of the department actually receiving the tones the first time out. A fairly large call area, being at the edge of the range for the county tower and repeater, and people working outside the county meant that very few people ever heard what was on the radio. 4 members of the 16 on the department is 25%. That was the average. We had multiple instances of having people show up at the station and having to call to try and get enough help to roll truck.

          Now that we have added SafAlert, of the 16 members we have on the department, we have had fewer than 15 instances of a member not receiving a text. Most were because a member changed cell providers/numbers and didn't tell me, so their info wasn't changed in the system. This is out of 688 text messages sent (43 alerts x 16 members). Most receive the text within 45 seconds to a minute of the radio dispatch, the rest as soon as they drive through an area with coverage. Could be just a coincidence, because we don't have a huge call volume , so I don't have a large sample size. But so far, it looks like it is cutting down significantly on response time, and we have not had a call yet where fewer than 6 firefighters showed up on the first page out.

          We don't have an NFPA-compliant engine, so it will not affect our NFPA or ISO rating, anyway. But to me it would seem hard to justify reducing the rating when the statistics seem to indicate a faster, more reliable response.
          It would seem to me that the real issue in your area isn't the superiority of the text message alerting, but the inadequacy, that can be easily documented, of your current towers and repeaters for your area. I sincerely hope you are pushing to fix the county radio system because if you can't count on it for paging in outlying areas you certainly can't count on it for communications with dispatch.
          Crazy, but that's how it goes
          Millions of people living as foes
          Maybe it's not too late
          To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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          • #20
            I've complained for several years, but the county hasn't fixed it and I don't see it happening any time soon. It wasn't in our budget to fix the radio system, if it can be fixed. I've asked several people that are supposedly experts if it can be fixed (all build and sell VHF systems), and no two people have given me the same answer. So I found something that was in our budget (SafAlert) and got that.

            Communicating with dispatch is not as big of a deal, because we can still generally communicate with the 100 watt radios on the vehicles and the raised external antennas. Stand up on top of the vehicle, and the handhelds will get reception. They don't have the power to transmit to dispatch, but they will receive. The problem with using radio system to page is most people aren't walking around with external antennas. Especially if they go into a metal building or a house with a metal roof.

            I liked Active 9-1-1 because we could see who was responding and where we needed to go, but I never could get dispatch talked into using it. So we tried SafAlert, and it seems to be working well so far. Dispatch doesn't have to do anything different, and it sends us audio of the dispatch via text message.

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            • #21
              I guess I wonder how big your county is because with the set-up we have in ours I have received pages from over 30 miles from dispatch and can communicate from our station, over 12 miles, to dispatch on a portable radio.
              Crazy, but that's how it goes
              Millions of people living as foes
              Maybe it's not too late
              To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

              Comment


              • #22
                We're low band here (46 MHz). The radio system was originally designed to set off house sirens and talk to fire trucks. Hand-helds were latecomers to the game.

                The county has tried to adjust by going from one tower to three, and uses five sites to broadcast the high band paging. Coverage for paging is pretty good. Hand-held comms with dispatch are hit and miss.

                I can often hear our dispatch from my mobile fire radio from over 75 miles away, although I've never tried to talk to them.

                At a recent sports event here (a triathlon), some fire department fire police were marvelling at how the ham radio folks were talking all over the place, often using five watt hand-helds, while they could hardly get across town. The secret, of course, was a nearby repeater and a cross-band repeater in one ham's vehicle. As amateurs, we can do some stuff on the fly that a fire department would have to jump through a lot of hoops to accomplish.

                Then there's the situation in Milford, MI, where local dispatching was turned over to a county agency on September 1. On September 2 there was a substantial delay responding to a structure fire because for some unknown reason Milford's pagers were not activated, despite testing that had previously occured.
                Last edited by tree68; 09-27-2015, 09:48 PM.
                Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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