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  • Laptops on Apparatus

    Does anyone have a laptop on their apparatus, and if so what type of software/information do you carry on it? Also, do you use wireless web connections, or is everything done locally? How useful is the laptop? Any and all information would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    We don't have them yet, but they are budgeted for FY2002. It will be a combination laptop / Mobile Data Terminal. The plan is have get dispatch information over the MDT, as well as pre-plans and maps. It would also have the standard HAZMAT data base. We are also going to try and incorporate our incident report program on it, so that reports can be done at the scene and downloaded at the station. Haven't decided whether or not to try a wireless dump system. We also want to encorporate a status switching system (enroute, on scene, in service, ect). This is a standard feature of all police type MDTs, so it shouldn't be very difficult.

    I'll let you know how it works.

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    • #3
      When our new ET arrives next June, it will have a laptop on it. Not sure of all the different software it will have, but I know it will have the preplan software that I developed on it.
      IACOJ Agitator
      Fightin' Da Man Since '78!

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      • #4
        Bjhfd-
        We have MCT's. I'm not sure on all of the specs. but we some sort of window's program. We ge the dispatch, addt. info, etc. in the MDT format. We also have a map that pop ups and shows you where the call is, hydrant locations, etc. Some sort of GPS follows the truck (updated every second) as you drive to the incident. AS you get closer, it zooms in.
        You can also touch on apartments, commercial building, whatever, and it will give you a more detailed map as well possible haz-mats and other pertinent data.
        It's a fantastic system. The only problem i can see is guys (especially new guys like myself) becoming reliant on it. It is afterall, a computer and we know how computers act sometimes- so we still have mapbooks on the rigs.
        If you're looking for specific info. contact the Phoenix fire dept. Try 602-256-3394 (tech svcs.) maybe they can help you more than me.
        Take care and be safe out there.
        try it you'll like it

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        • #5
          We have used laptops for several years. They were provided by the sheriffs dept. which handles all dispatching. We use them as mobile data terminals and for communicating between police and fire. I have mixed emotions on them. It is nice to have dispatch information displayed for you and if the radio is tied up with chatter it a good way to send a message providing the person you send it to is paying attention. It is difficult to type a command or message going down the road. We have had constant problems with the computers crashing and sometimes it takes two weeks to get a repair or replacement from the radio shop. They also drain vehicle batteries like crazy and need electrical shorlines plugged into them while sitting in bays. I know other departments that have all sorts of things integrated like street maps and preplans and so on. Unfortunatley we do not have those options. Right now I rely on it as little as possible, mostly to get run times and to talk with other units off air if needed. I spend little time in the truck going to a call and am away from it after that. I think they are good devises for command units more than fire fighting apparatus.

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          • #6
            We just got ours from the county but they're not operational yet as MDT's. The Microsoft Pinball works very well though

            They run MS Windows 2000 Professional and have a keyboard and a touch screen - very cool. Once they're up and running, they will have our CAD, pre-plans and a haz mat database. Data is moved via RF over the City of Toledo 800 MHz trunked system. No internet access as far as I know.
            FTM-PTB-DTRT

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            • #7
              The department I work for paid on call has a standard buy anywhere laptop. All 300 of the preplans that we have done are saved as MS Word files by address. It has worked great except for a few goofs I now know that the propane place on bank street it's office has a 7th street address and that is what the preplan is stored under.

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              • #8
                Anyone know vendor names or companies that install the computers/software, etc.?

                Websites?

                I'm interested in checking out the possibilities for our company.

                Stay Safe

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                • #9
                  contact TuWay Wireless - Lisa Boligitz at 610-865-3811. Located in Bethlehem PA. For info.

                  www.tuway.com
                  ideas expressed & posted in the forum(s) are my own.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks Ken.

                    Stay Safe

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                    • #11
                      Shameless plug... http://www.gvfd.org/preplans/
                      www.gvfd.org

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                      • #12
                        Thanks, Cook - no shame in that. I'd really like our company to look into this, the more info the better!

                        Stay Safe

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                        • #13
                          More Questions

                          For those that have laptops in the rigs, I have the following questions:

                          1. What brand laptops are you using?

                          2. How are they holding up?

                          3. What problems have you had?

                          4.Will a standard laptop hold up under the vibration load on an engine?

                          5. Has anyone tried the card in a laptop that serves as a GPS?

                          I am looking into this because we would like to use the mapping data and preplans on the computers. The computers will not be set up to transmit any data or the truck's location. Just looking for any input that may point us in the right direction.

                          Thanks,

                          Lewie
                          Member I.A.C.O.J

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                          • #14
                            Hey Lewie! If you got any info on this let me know. I've been wanting to look into this for a while now. We have a program that we are currently using that has the capibilites to do preplans, mapping, and much more. Give up with me later and I'll let you see how it works.

                            As far as laptops go: the fire service is consistantly getting more techniologily advanced and I see computers becoming more and more used in the future.
                            LT/EMT Wright
                            I A C O J
                            LOXLEY WARRIORS
                            All opinions expressed are solely of my personal opinion and in no way reflect those of my department. This is for those of you who use a large stick to stir excrement.

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                            • #15
                              At the department where I work, but am no longer a volunteer, the Rescue/service truck has a laptop. Just a $1200 Tochiba (sic?) laptop the chief bought from someplace like Comp USA or Office Depot. It's mounted on a stand on the center equiptment console. Street Atlas runs on it with a small dash mounted GPS receiver which is about the size of a Zippo lighter.
                              So as you are driving to calls it leaves a trace of where you've been. When arriving on scene you can use the GPS coordinates displayed at the bottom of the screen for setting up landing zones for Airmed.
                              None of us have had much (or any) training on it so I don't know what kind of info is on it such as Haz-Mat Response Guide or prefire plans. I'm not saying that they aren't there but I have never been told that they were in the computer. We don't use it to find addresses before leaving the station, we have paper maps for that, and it doesn't communicate with dispatch so it isn't a MDT. As far as I can tell it's a $1200 GPS receiver.
                              We've had several problems with it, the latest being that the inverter that we had hooked to the vehicles power supply wasn't keeping the laptop charged. So now we have the laptop plugged into an extension cord when it's parked in the bay. Before taking the truck on a call you have to remember to unplug the regular shore line and the cord charging the laptop.
                              When the Chief sent out the annual fundraising letter for the volunteer department this month he mentioned that we hope to be purchasing a new Ferrera Intruder pumper and we want to raise enough money to put another laptop with GPS in the new truck when it comes in.
                              Steve
                              EMT/Security Officer

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