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TFD question

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Chaos703

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Does anyone know why TFD doesn't use fire ground TGs unless it's a really HUGE incident? I've heard firemen in potentially hazardous situations when dispatch jumps right in on top of them to dispatch a silly medical "taxi" call.

Broken Arrow's system seems to make much more sense. Is there a larger story or is this a case of "we've always done it this way."
 

tiawah466

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Depends on the Incident Commander, Alot of times while they are still enroute they will have everyone swith to a District Tac channel. From what I understand this is better than having Dispatch regroup all of the radios to the Tac channel remotly. When they regroup the radios they are locked onto the assigned talkgroup. This can be a pain when someone needs to transmit on another channel and can't untill dispatch resets the radio.
 

FPO703

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How about something like this?

Companies dispatched on the dispatch talkgroup, then, when they call enroute, it's on one of the response talkgroups, depending on the zone, batallion, etc...

Columbus, Ohio does things this way. If it's an EMS call, they have 2 EMS channels, if it's a fire call (unless it's a dumpster, small fire), it goes to one of the 7 batallion fireground talkgroups.

That makes much more sense to me than having FF safety issues because they can't transmit a mayday or emergency if they are at a working incident and stuck on dispatch and dispatch is trying to dispatch other incidents.

In other words, dispatch is for dispatch only. All other incidents, small, medium, large, etc... belong OFF of the main dispatch channel.

Obviously the powers that be within TFD don't know any better. When a FF dies or gets injured as a result, maybe they'll finally see the light of that mistake.
 

BoxAlarm187

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tiawah466 said:
Depends on the Incident Commander, Alot of times while they are still enroute they will have everyone swith to a District Tac channel. From what I understand this is better than having Dispatch regroup all of the radios to the Tac channel remotly. When they regroup the radios they are locked onto the assigned talkgroup. This can be a pain when someone needs to transmit on another channel and can't untill dispatch resets the radio.
I'm not following this at all. Are you saying that the dispatch center has to do something remotely to the radios before the guys in the field can use them? I'm not saying you're wrong, as I learn something every day, but this isn't something I've seen in my 15 years in the business.

The only thing that I seen done remotely from the dispatch centers is inhibiting stolen/broken/unauthorized radios...
 

tomokla

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TFD did that several years ago and it lasted less then 24hrs. Although it makes the radio traffic flow better and provides less crowding on the main side channel, you have to remember that their are only so many ears to listen. To make matters worse, consoles are designed to only hear two types of audio - select and unselect. This means that whichever talkgroup the dispatcher has selected comes over their headset or (if the headset is unplugged) their SELECT speaker. ALL other audio is sent through the unselect speaker....whoever you hear depends on the individual volume given to the talkgroup. BA's system may work for them, but in my opinion having companies spread out over different channels isnt a wise idea...especially for smaller incidents. Tulsa's good about getting things on a District Fireground when they need to. My memory tells me that they started to do that a little more regularly back 2-3 years ago and then actually had to tell them to stop....once again due to the inability to effectively monitor.
 

car2back

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It seems like lately TFD has been alot better about switching to a District Fire Ground TGs lately but like what Tiawah said, it really depends on the IC telling responding units to switch.

From experience, when a dispatcher tells someone to switch to another channel or Tac when it's not allready SOP, big toes usually get stepped on. Whether it's asking an officer to switch over for an open door on an intrusion alarm or asking Firemen to drop down to clear traffic on the main side, people take it personally for some odd reason. Just my observations.
 

KD5WLX

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I think on a typical day, Tulsa doesn't have enough traffic to warrant use of tac channels for every incident. You might have 4 or 5 engines out on 4 different traffic accidents/medical runs, etc. and all can effectively "share" dispatch, even with dispatch. Tulsa just isn't that busy.

On the other hand, I have heard a few times when a working fire STAYED on the main talk group, and that always creates problems, because, while two working fires at once is rare, two or three medicals in other parts of the city, while a fire is ongoing is not uncommon.

The real chaos is those rare occasions when there are two working fires at once.

Think about it - how many times do you hear "E-4, breathing problems at the Day Center - 415 W. Archer" and 3 minutes later you hear "E-4 on the scene, being waved off by EMSA, we're in service". It takes more time ON the dispatch talkgroup to get them to go "off" the dispatch talkgroup than just to make their call. Even when they beat EMSA (often) or are needed to help, there's still little traffic unless it's a car wreck on the interstate and they either can't find it or they want the second unit to take an alternate route or to block traffic somewhere.

The current policy of "fireground tac talkgroups for fires" makes sense, at least until T-town gets a busier. And when that happens, the solution (in the works already) is a bigger dispatch center with more consoles and more dispatchers - THEN you can go to tac groups all the time without confusing the dispatchers or "losing" traffic.

As far as the "regroup" goes, as I understand it, there's a problem both ways. Manual switch, someone always has an HT turned off, because it feeds back with the truck radio while enroute, then when they get on scene and turn it on, it's still on dispatch's talkgroup. Auto-regroup lets the dispatcher "force" (at the battalion chief's direction) all the radios to "switch" automatically, but then they are on that talkgroup only. That causes problems at the really big incidents where they use two tacs at once. I've heard that 4 times recently. Staging had it's own group during the St. John's parking structure fire, the Airgas explosion, and two Hazmat incidents where Hazmat (and a couple of support units) were on "H" while the perimeter/decon/water supply, etc. were on a Tac.
 

tomokla

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Oh, I think you'll find the new center with a lot more consoles. As far as human bodies...I doubt you'll see a change. Good points though. I wouldn't call Tulsa too slow...seems like yesterday Tulsa topped 10,000 incidents a year. Now it (along with other metro area suburbs) are pushing records...Tulsa over 50,000 calls. By any standard that IS busy. The bottom line is Fireground channel have to have someone listening. As long as they allow the FAO to drop to 2 dispatchers (even if just temporarily) you can't do anything too progressive. Even at three dispatchers you can be pressed to the limits on a steady (not busy) day I'm sure.

A
 
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