Fultondale (AL) Fire Department Upgrades Communications System

Fultondale, AL—A recent change to centralized E911 dispatching for Jefferson County, Alabama, volunteer fire departments provides many cost and operational benefits over individual municipal dispatch centers.

Scott Fassina, communications officer and fire marshal for Fultondale, Alabama, reports that the transition to centralized dispatching is providing many advantages along with an increased awareness of local area responsibilities. For example, Insurance Services Office (ISO) ratings, which can affect insurance rates for the community, remain the responsibility of individual communities. ISO rates communities for their ability to efficiently provide fire protection service, which includes response capability. A bad rating can result in higher insurance premiums for local citizens.

One area of concern with centralized dispatching was an inability to promptly detect a failure of one of the fire-department-owned repeater radios and take the corrective action to restore service quickly. What was needed was some way of electronically reporting a repeater failure to local municipal dispatch and/or 911.

Falcon Wireless was called upon to provide an efficient and affordable solution to monitor repeater station operation and to instantly report an equipment failure. The solution was a low-cost device known as the InstaLertR™. This device is no larger than a desktop telephone. Installation and setup is simple and minimal operator training is required. The cost is less than $2,000.

Not only does InstaLertR enhance response capabilities, it also has the potential to reduce insurance premium rates. Reducing the possible loss of life, injury, and property damage are added benefits, along with an added level of assurance that emergency calls will be received by first responders, and that litigation exposure will be minimized.

Fultondale is a city in Jefferson County, Alabama, and a northern suburb of Birmingham on heavily traveled I-65 and soon to be linked with I-22. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 8,380. The city is served by a paid on call fire and rescue personnel to a rapidly growing residential population to the west and retail shopping in the east.

The Fultondale (AL) Fire and Rescue Service operates from the centrally-located Station 1 equipped with Engine 1, Engine 4, Ladder 1 (Quint), and Rescue 70; Station 2 located on the west of the City equipped with Engine 2 and Rescue 71; and Station 3 located on the east of the City equipped with Engine 3, Off road Rescue, Service 3, two 6×6 wildland fire/rescue vehicles, rescue boats, and the special rescue team trailer. 

For more information, visit www.falconwireless.net.

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