Author Topic: Dispatcher's Greater Alarms  (Read 3099 times)

Offline svd385

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Dispatcher's Greater Alarms
« on: March 30, 2011, 11:54:06 AM »
Not sure if this should be in communications or history but here it goes....

Prior to and during at least midway into the later part of the War Years dispatchers could increment the number of alarms transmitted for an incident.
When was this discontinued and is this built into any of the systems currently in use?
I'm not sure if life's trying to pass me by or run me over

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Dispatcher's Greater Alarms
« on: March 30, 2011, 11:54:06 AM »

Offline Atlas

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Re: Dispatcher's Greater Alarms
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2011, 02:22:32 PM »
Dispatchers Multiple Alarms was discontinued after a chief ordered the 1st alarm assignment to be filled out. Well, the way the story was told, the supervising dispatcher transmitted a third alarm in order to give the chief a 3 x 2 assignment. Not knowing what was going on, the staff chief on duty responded to the call. The incident turned out to be a FALSE ALARM. Thus the Dispatcher's Multiple Alarms were put to rest back in the 70's.

Today policies, please correct me if I am wrong, indicates that the I/C can special call as many truck companies as he wants, but if he goes two or more engines about the alarm level, then the next highest alarm has to be transmitted. 

Offline svd385

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Re: Dispatcher's Greater Alarms
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2011, 03:16:16 PM »
Thanks for the info, wasn't sure about the reason but I do remember it was a fairly common thing up until 1973ish time frame. 
The earliest one I remember was around 1963 for Wheeler's Boat Works, which was a dispatchers fifth alarm.
I'm not sure if life's trying to pass me by or run me over

Offline FDNY150

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Re: Dispatcher's Greater Alarms
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2011, 05:48:49 PM »
you are correct on the special calls Atlas.
Step up or Shut up!!!

Offline FD347

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Re: Dispatcher's Greater Alarms
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2011, 11:33:15 PM »
Strictly by the book, the IC is allowed only 1 engine over an all-hands. He can get trucks until there are none left but no more engines.
Frank Raffa
Ret. Supv. Dispatcher, FDNY
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BCO - RIP
2/22/1923 - 6/3/2008

Offline 811

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Re: Dispatcher's Greater Alarms
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2011, 07:18:25 AM »
Dispatchers' Greater Alarms were not intended to fill a FIRST ALARM assignment, it was only to supplement a SECOND or GREATER alarm ordered by the incident commander. Therefore (though I won't swear it was never done) there was no such thing as a Dispatchers' Second Alarm [to fill an incomplete first alarm assignment].

The c1961 "Manual of Fire Communications" defines it:
"1.13.2 In the event engine and ladder companies assigned on second or greater alarm are not in service, dispatcher shall provide required number by special call or greater alarm."

This was not new, it was in effect even earlier, my Regs revised to December 1945  reads in part (may have been in effect long before that date):
"When all companies assigned to respond to a 2nd or greater alarm...are not in quarters to respond, the Dispatcher shall provide the required number of special calls or a greater alarm..."

So if a multiple alarm was ordered, and insufficient companies were available, dispatchers were authorized to transmit a higher alarm, not always the next higher alarm, but even beyond that.  It was a fast way to get many units on the road, rather than tapping out numerous special-calls on the bells.  One bad part was that it would result in many companies proceeding on relocations per the assignment card; often relocating to companies that were not even at the fire.  Last I remember this being used was mid 1970s.

There were other cases where it backfired, like some staff chiefs or special units responding where it was not warranted.  One story often told was in lower Brownsville or Canarsie a unit ordered a second alarm while responding in when he saw a bright orange glow in many windows of a high rise from a distance away.  Dispatchers Third or Fourth Alarm was transmitted to provide enough units for the "second".  Turns out it was reflections in the high-rise windows from the setting sun.

Offline memory master

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Re: Dispatcher's Greater Alarms
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2011, 03:36:59 PM »
Just a bit off of the subject.....For any of our great dispatchers.....Are "dummy" boxes still carried on the books? Are the numbers still used as the closest box to an incident location or have they gone the way of "tapping in" when returning from a run? Thanks guys.

Offline FD347

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Re: Dispatcher's Greater Alarms
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2011, 09:51:43 PM »
Dummy boxes still exist and CADS will pick the nearest box, real or not.
Frank Raffa
Ret. Supv. Dispatcher, FDNY
www.FDNewYork.com
BCO - RIP
2/22/1923 - 6/3/2008