ComTech Fire Station Alerting Systems
Case Studies

City of New Orleans, LA

Hurricane Katrina didn’t spare the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD). With the massive amount of water and flooding that occurred, it's no surprise the fire station alerting system was in dire need of replacement.

ComTech Communications was awarded the contract to replace the fire station alerting systems for the City of New Orleans, including 35 fire stations, the fire dispatch center and backup dispatch location. The main operational criteria set by NOFD was that all the systems operations would be handled over RF wireless communications and could alert all the fire stations in less than two seconds.

ComTech Communications provided NOFD with an NFPA 1221 compliant solution by installing a new 800Mhz Data Radio system and by using NOFD’s WAN/LAN communications network as a secondary source for the alerting process. Automatic dispatching was accomplished through an interface created between the NOFD Dispatch CAD system and the ComTech Fire Alert Controller. The fire alert controller receives the dispatch requests and simultaneously sends the alert information to each fire station over the 800Mhz RF Data/Radio and Network communication links. This helps ensure the stations receive the dispatch alert. A 50” wall mounted monitor provides dispatchers a quick visual status of all city fire stations. The overall solution provided NOFD with a primary, secondary, and tertiary manual user interface across the city in the event of system failure. 

The Motorola trunked 700Mhz radio system is used as their primary means of communications, and an interface was created between the 700Mhz and 800Mhz systems. This allowed NOFD to continue ‘business as normal’ during installation, testing and live cutover. Complete and fully operational (January 1, 2011), the new systems not only provide all fire station alerting functions for the City of New Orleans Fire Department, it's also a secondary or backup radio system in time of need.

At each fire station, a ComTech 10 Fire Station Alerting System was installed in a wall mounted security cabinet containing the head-end system equipment, amplifiers, radio and network interfaces, all backed up by an un-interruptible power supply.

NOFD’s station side alerting requirements were to support: fast and multi-station alerting, local emergency notifications, fire fighter friendly red LED alert lighting and night vision, remotely controlled radio monitoring, and system reset functions.

City of Berkely, CA

Until December 2010, the City of Berkeley Fire Department’s dispatching was done through multiple ring-down phone line circuits, and many stations had three or more separate circuits. Though this worked for the fire department for years, they were ready to improve their fire station alerting and response times.

ComTech Communications was awarded the contract to replace the department's fire station alerting systems, including systems at the fire stations and at the dispatch center. One of the main operational criteria set by the department was to be NFPA 1221 compliant and create a redundant alerting system.

ComTech provided a Radio (RF) and WAN/LAN alerting solution to for alerting redundancy, increased response time, and company based alerting with alerting status feedback capabilities. A Zetron M25 encoder was installed and integrated with the city’s radio system, providing paging to their pagers, and a VoIP audio option is now available as an alternate audio source. Overhead station paging is supported through the user’s interface and/or through the department’s phone systems.

Automatic dispatching is accomplished through an interface created between the department’s dispatch CAD system and the ComTech Fire alert controller. The fire alert controller receives the dispatch requests automatically or manually through the user interface and simultaneously sends the alert information to each fire station and pager over the radio system and city network communication links. This helps ensure the stations receive the dispatch alert, as well as personnel carrying pagers.

At each fire station, a ComTech 10 fire station alerting system was installed supporting both whole station and company base alerting systems. The head-end system equipment, amplifiers, radio and network interfaces are all backed up by an uninterruptible power supply.

Berkeley’s station side alerting requirements were to support: fast and multi-station alerting and paging, local emergency notifications, fire fighter friendly red LED and company based alert lighting and night vision, remotely controlled radio monitoring, overhead P.A. paging and system reset functions.

 


For more information on how ComTech Communications can help you improve your ability to respond, contact us today.