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Alphanumeric Pagers vs. Voice Pagers

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  • #16
    What wakes you up at night is all relative.

    Most nights my Alpha wakes me up. Other mornings I get up, look at the light tripped on my Minitor II AMPLIFIED charger*, and then check the alpha to see what I slept through.

    I'm also on call 24x7 with work. Usually I'm up on the first ring of the Nextel, but I've also had the mornings when it's my boss' voice on the answering machine that wakes me up (to find 7 new messages on the Nextel!)

    Bottom line: The alpha wakes me up, 'cause if I sleep through it, I'll sleep through anything.

    =============
    * Which interestingly I can't use anymore. About six months ago one of my Dalmatians came down with seizures, triggered by of all things him howling back at the ambulance tone on the pager. Since I've kept it turned down low, he doesn't howl, and hasn't had a seizure.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
    20/50

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    • #17
      This Post Left Intentionally Blank.
      NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
      IACOJ Attack

      Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

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      • #18
        We use voice pagers for emergency dispatching purposes. The officers are issued alpha pagers for administrative purposes. This system works well for us.

        Why can't we just go back to the days of setting off the old air raid siren???

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        • #19
          Alpha Pagers

          I'm from Syracuse, New York. My County Fire Service which is made up of 57 volunteer fire departments just started using Alpha Pagers as a SECONDARY MEANS OF NOTIFICATION a few years ago.

          Alpha paging is great, however DO NOT RELY ON ALPHA NUMERIC AS YOUR PRIMARY SOURCE OF ALERTING! I do not care what City you are in, or what paging company you are going to use, it is not made for emergency services. Keep the Motorola Minitor 3's & 4's and use the Alpha Paging as a secondary means of notification.

          For more information or questions, e-mail me.

          [email protected]
          Chris Shields
          Lieutenant / EMT
          Haz-Mat Technician
          East Syracuse Fire Dept
          Onondaga County, NY

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          • #20
            DO NOT RELY ON ALPHA NUMERIC AS YOUR PRIMARY SOURCE OF ALERTING!

            It's important today to differentiate between commercial & proprietary alpha systems.

            Commercial systems may have delays (though that was not our experience with them for the two years we used them -- the delays invariably where human dispatcher issues). But as others mentioned, they're not the same as a public-safety dedicated system.

            Proprietary alpha-numeric systems are starting to pop up, and those have the same reliability/speed as any other public safety communications system.

            In some ways, they can be more reliable than voice -- pagers can go over multiple, inexpensive transmitters simultaneously so you're less likely to be affected by "blind spots" or single-tower failures than on most voice systems. Voice paging over multiple towers is expensive, as it requires transmitters tuned ten times tighter than normal specifications to get adequate voice quality; pagers actually use the slight differences in transmitter tuning for "error correction" when they receive multiple signals.
            IACOJ Canine Officer
            20/50

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            • #21
              My dept. borders Dalmation90's and we use the same alph-dispatch system. We also use the alphas as our primary means of dispatch and the voice pagers are issued to probies and for backup. We have been using the alpha's for about 2 yrs., and they have proved themselves more reliable than the voice. Even with the best minitor on the market, our area is so hilly, vallies etc. that the voice would not always open up, or if it did you could not hear it in some places. we have not missed an alarm with the alpha's yet, and they open anywhere in town, and for miles outside of town, probably half the state, into RI and MA. I love them, the only prob, it does not always wake me up, so I have to leave my minitor 4 on at night....Stay Safe...Jay
              "WAS THAT BEFORE OR AFTER YOU REALIZED YOU WERE STANDING IN A $#@%*&% PUDDLE OF GASOLINE?"

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              • #22
                My company utilizes both alpha-numeric and the Minitor II voice pagers. Our county communication center dispatches us on both. The alphas are good for holding information about a response (e.g. time dispatched, exact location). The alphas are also good for company only dispatches regarding training and other important messages. We can also send pages from the scene from the rear of our rescue squad.

                One drawback to alpha pagers is that you can't read them if they alert while you're operating a vehicle. Another is that in my opinion, they aren't very durable. Everyone in my company has had some sort of reliability problem at one time or another.

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                • #23
                  The last 14 years have seen a large migration to alpha paging. Most of the transition has been motivated by frequency spectrum usage. In our area, tone & voice reaches better in the community and the responders can monitor the radio traffic enroute to the incident, so everyone knows whats going on - first hand. The alpha system being used is very slow. It is maintained by a private company with 100's of customers, so pages are buffered. Up to 5 minutes from text message sent from the office until the pager receives it. If we had 911 answering times of 5 minutes, the community would have tossed out the administration 20 years ago. If the radio channel(s) are not over-crowded then I'm all for the old tone/voice/monitor pages like Minitor IV. If you go alpha for paging, then make sure the system is under your control and pager notification is less than 30 seconds from pushing send at the dispatch console.

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                  • #24
                    I don't know what sort of info you get on your pagers (Or will get), but the problem I found is that too many members pick and choose what jobs they go to, becasue all the details are there when using alphanumerics.

                    You can guarantee on the calls with the potential to be big, juicy or interesting, there'd be loads of members respond.

                    Boring jobs- we'd be lucky to turn a truck out some times....
                    Luke

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                    • #25
                      One drawback to alpha pagers is that you can't read them if they alert while you're operating a vehicle.

                      Sure you can.

                      I've only been pulled over once for it, by an off-duty State Trooper who thought he had himself a drunk driver.

                      Lessons learned:
                      Remember to always look for Crown Vic headlights in the rearview mirror before doing swerving between lanes on an interstate
                      (OK, and pay more attention to driving than the pager...)
                      IACOJ Canine Officer
                      20/50

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                      • #26
                        And the spam begins.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by jacklrd View Post
                          And the spam begins.
                          Not bad though, it took over 6 years for the spam to begin in this thread. LOL
                          "WAS THAT BEFORE OR AFTER YOU REALIZED YOU WERE STANDING IN A $#@%*&% PUDDLE OF GASOLINE?"

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                          • #28
                            Yup.................

                            Originally posted by jacklrd View Post
                            And the spam begins.

                            The Spam has begun to be reported too......
                            Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                            In memory of
                            Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                            Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                            IACOJ Budget Analyst

                            I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

                            www.gdvfd18.com

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                            • #29
                              So its on old thread, Ill add my $.02 anyway.

                              We switched from voice pagers back when the alpha's came out, 12-15 years ago I think. Big advantage is with the voice pagers, if you miss part of the message your SOL. With the alphas, you can re-read it. Plus you can send other messages to your crews, like access info, door codes, road closures, PD requests to stage without using the radio.
                              Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

                              IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

                              "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
                              RUSH-Tom Sawyer

                              Success is when skill meets opportunity
                              Failure is when fantasy meets reality

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