At Lathrop’s newest fire station, the days of listening for tones to see whether a crew is getting dispatched to a location are over.
Just like everything else, notifying firefighters that they’re being dispatched has gone digital.
As part of the state-of-the-art system that the Lathrop Manteca Fire District included in the design and construction of Station 35 in River Islands, digital screens both inside of the engine bay and the dorm rooms notify firefighters when they’re needed and where they’re going – replacing the blaring alarms and the flashing lights that sometimes weren’t even for the crew that was awaken by them.
“It’s completely configurable – it allows a department to configure the system to meet their unique individual needs,” said Neely, who noted that the district didn’t have much of an option when it came to outfitting the new fire station with a modern alerting system. “The old system we were using was considered end-of-life – parts for the alerting component were getting difficult to find.
“The old radio tones take several seconds for the station to be alerted.”
According to the district, other agencies like Lodi and Manteca have been looking into the upgraded alert system as a way to modernize stations and replace aging systems that are nearing the end of their life cycles.
And the system is both intuitive and user-friendly for the firefighters that want to customize the notifications they receive during the evening hours.
Whereas before those on shift were at the mercy of dispatchers that determined which calls were routed where, individuals get the opportunity to turn on or off notifications for any of the stations in the district – letting them know when other stations are dispatched, if they so choose, or allowing for all notifications except those affecting their apparatus to be silenced.
While the system is currently only operational at Station 35 in River Islands, every station will ultimately be outfitted with the screens – which do require power to be operational. While the systems aren’t expected to be impacted by the potential power outage that will come from the deenergizing of PG&E transmission lines that power the city – every fire station has its own backup generator – the district also has the ability to go back to the classic dispatch and alert system.
“We are still traditional in the sense that each of our stations is configured to be able to be dispatched independently,” Neely said. “As an example, if we had a catastrophic event, we can pull a firefighter in on overtime and have them immediately begin dispatching our units from any of our fire stations or command vehicles – the new system is capable of recognizing the old tones if necessary.
“And each of our stations has a generator that powers the station. We’re all well-versed when it comes to disasters – that’s what’s great about sending people out on large incidents. It is not our first rodeo.”
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.