NYFD Tones

west5alpha

Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2009
Messages
79
Watching various YouTube videos , don’t hear any tones for calls how do they know when to respond to a call or just missing something here ?
 

ai8o

Electron Wrangler
Joined
Oct 6, 2007
Messages
243
Location
Lexington, NC
The PURVIS System brought back memories of the 1960's- 70's Cincinnati FD.

At that time Cincinnati still had in service a "box alarm" system that transmitted a unique 4 number code from each Fire alarm box .

A unique code was assigned to each location.
Each Fire House was assigned a range of numbers that were assigned to locations in their "first Due Response"area.

For example: 4-1-1-2 West 8th and Enright, 3-2-1-3 Paddock Road at Montgomery, 1-1-1-1 North side of City Hall, etc

Every fire station had brass bells on the equipment floor that sounded every number sent.
Each fire house heard every box pulled in the entire city
And they were loud! they were designed to get the attention of any FFs in the firehouse and they were very effective.

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! ----- BANG!----- BANG! ------ BANG! BANG! <4-1-1-2>

And most fire Houses had a "Squack box" on the internal CFD intercom system that was constantly on, and was monitored by
"the Tower" (( CFD Dispatch (KQC 767))

When the chimes sounded,
every FF in the station would stop talking, and standstill listening.

If they received a code that was their "First Due Response", the Houseman would acknowledge "Chimes" over the Squack Box, telling the Tower who was responding, and that they were enroute.
" District 2, the 5's, (engine 5) 712 (ladder company) enroute"
Every FF would climb onto his assigned apparatus and go out the door

It was a strange sensation when I would be in the firehouse, talking to someone they suddenlywould be quiet, start counting, and if the chimes code was a "First Due Response" , they wouldn't resume talking, instead they would just walk over to their gear, put it on, get on their apparatus and leave.

A fire house acknowledged their dispatchs over the Squawk box, the first radio traffic from them would be when they arrived on the scene.
The only time you heard the tower dispatch over the radio was when a piece of apparatus was on the street out of their fire house.

The "Houseman" was a FF who was assigned to be responsible for the fire house, greet any visitors, listen to the Chimes, deal withpaperwork, etc.
In firehouses that had several units (at CFD HQ there were 9 units housed there), he had to listen to the chimes, telling the units that were to respond, to go.

" BOX 2-2-4-1 5th and Main! Engine 2!, Ladder17! Rescue 52! District 1!"

The PURVIS equipment amazes me.
The CFD apparatus just had a radio, some keys to bldgs, and a foot switch to activate the mechanical siren.
NO printer, no MDT, NO man down alarms, and No electronic gizmos.
 

Citywide173

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 18, 2005
Messages
1,936
Location
Attleboro, MA
Boston is using Purvis for station alerting, but the box system is still alive and well. When striking a box from fire alarm, it is still transmitted over the air as a series of beeps that correspond with the bells.
 

izzyj4

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
957
Location
The 2nd village Anson Phelps founded in CT.
Each "borough office" has a certain number of dispatchers assigned to them. Each borough used to have their own building (aka "office") until they consolidated them a few years back at 2 locations in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

When I visited the old Brooklyn office years ago (thank you Frank Raffa!) they had the following dispatcher positions on duty:

Tour Supervising Dispatcher - aka the boss

Alarm Receiving Dispatchers - the ones who are taking the calls. They ask only 4 questions to get the proper information and transfer that info into the computer system

Decision dispatcher - the person that assigns the units to an alarm when the assignment is sent into their computer system.

Voice Dispatcher - transmits the assignment to the firehouse /units that need to respond. Its the duty of the DD to make sure the proper units are being sent to the alarm and check when the computer assigned versus what is actually in service / out of service. This is where the in house "hi-low" alert tone goes over the house speakers followed by the "Engine", "Ladder" "Special Unit", etc announcement to alert the assigned unit(s), followed by the voice dispatcher announcing the assignment location. The firehouse also used to get a paper "rip sheet" but I believe everything is sent over the Mobile Data Terminals now. The TDS can intervene if there is a problem.

Radio Dispatcher - The voice(s) you hear over the radio announcing the alarm and talking to all the units on the air. If a units doesn't respond to the DD via thier in house intercom, you then hear the radio dispatcher calling them to make sure they are responding. Sometimes you have a "Talk In" Dispatcher (answers all incoming radio transmissions from the units in the field) and "Talk Out" Dispatcher (announces all the assignments, special calls and information). If you hear a single tone coming over the borough or citywide frequency, usually its an annoucement or trying to get the aqttendion of an on air unit.

Depending how busy the borough is depends on how many dispatchers are on duty for that office and how many positions filled.
 

tbendick

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
422
Location
Nyc
Watching various YouTube videos , don’t hear any tones for calls how do they know when to respond to a call or just missing something here ?
No tones. If in firehouse, run comes over a computer, no acknowledge then over red phone voice alarm system (intercom) and still no response then a phone call.
Outside firehouse, comes over mobile computer, no response then via radio.
Also now have an iPad that gets runs but you can't acknowledge on ipad.
 

ten13

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Aug 13, 2009
Messages
421
Location
ten13
An interesting correction to the above-linked article:

Members who came on the job in 1970 (which is when the Department began civilianizing the Communications Bureau)
Actually, the FDNY dispatchers were ALWAYS civilians; it was always a separate civil service title and test. But the FD, going back many years, found it convenient to put light-duty firemen in those offices (some stayed many years, even decades, on "light-duty"), negating any reason to have the civil service test with any regularity.

The civil service test, as well as the qualifications to take it, in those pre-radio days consisted entirely of being proficient in telegraphy ("Railroad Telegraph Operator" was qualifying experience) and Direct Current electricity. The entire focus of the job was receiving and transmitting incoming alarms via telegraph, and maintaining the the fire alarm box circuitry. Dispatching fire companies was almost a secondary part of the job.

Around 1968, the Dispatchers' union made a formal grievance saying that the light-duty firemen assigned to the Central Offices were making substantially more money than the civilian dispatchers doing the same job, and sought, at least, "parity" with the firemen. That was denied, but the city finally realized that there was no reason to have those firemen there; if they weren't able to "perform the customary duties of a firemen..." because of their ailments, whether because of Line-of-Duty injuries or even non-LOD ailments, they were eligible for either a 3/4s or half-pay pension.

With that, in 1968, the city held a civil service test for "Fire Alarm Dispatcher," anticipating the need as the firemen retired or were re-assigned. However, the qualifications, for the most part, still held primarily to the electrical qualification, but added a radio/dispatching qualification. For the written test, knowledge of ohms, resistance, and solving electrical problems using mathematics was required.

Despite that, a lot of buffs took the test, basing their "qualifications" on the "radio" thing, including "volunteer" experience (which was not really acceptable...they wanted "paid experience," but those got hired anyway), to counting the bells in the Fire Patrol firehouses. Just about all the buffs took crammed courses in electricity, too. In March of 1969, the first bunch were hired, with a large number of buffs in that group, and the next group hired.

Fortunately for the city, with the days of the "War Years" just around the corner, having all those buffs working as Dispatchers paid off. It was almost like Divine Intervention. If they had to depend on "electricians" or the light-duty firemen in those days, they'd still have water curtains set up at the Bronx-Westchester border.
 

ecps92

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2002
Messages
11,723
Location
Taxachusetts
Lots of municipalities, still have Box systems. Some have gone RF

7611 was a nice ride, now we need a Boat !
Boston is using Purvis for station alerting, but the box system is still alive and well. When striking a box from fire alarm, it is still transmitted over the air as a series of beeps that correspond with the bells.
 
Top