Occasionally, I hear a rescue call dispatch start with "special call...." I haven't been able to associate any particular station or apparatus with this term. Does anyone know what makes a "special call" special??
I can't speak specifically to Glendale (or even Arizona), but in many fire services, a "special call" is when the incident commander on-scene specifically requests a piece of apparatus.
For example, if there is a car crash, and the normal response is engine 1 and rescue 2, but when they get on scene they determine they need air bag lift kits, which are carried on heavy rescue 9, sending HR9 to the incident would be termed a "special call".
Special call is just adding an additional unit to an incident (usually a ladder or rescue) after the first unit is on scene. A "balance of assignment" is when a medical call gets balanced to an extrication,2-1,3-1, first alarm, etc or a fire gets "balanced" to a working fire, which usually consists of the U Boat and an AR Van depending on the city