The Santa Barbara City Fire Department has deployed a new automated fire station alerting system that is promised to speed up the dispatch incident processing and alerting of firefighters.
The new alerting system, Locution Systems, will operate through the internet and, by doing so, allows multiple units to be alerted simultaneously. Fire officials say the biggest benefit may be in the dispatch center, with dispatchers now able to receive 911 calls, enter the information into the Computer Aided Dispatch and alert all fire stations simultaneously in less than a half-second — all with one touch.
“This will allow dispatchers to focus on the callers and allow more concentrated emergency medical dispatch instructions to be given,” said Ryan DiGuilio, fire spokesman.
The alerting system replaces a decades-old, radio-based toned alerting system. Locution Systems is the first automated alerting system in the county and is expected to pave the way for fire dispatch efficiency, Mr. DiGuilio said.
The alerting system was purchased for approximately $481,000. It is funded by Measure C infrastructure tax and is one of the first projects approved by the city’s Steering Committee.
Additional upgrades to station communication rooms and station infrastructure was also completed when the system was installed.
Locution Systems was chosen by firefighters and city staff and received the approval of the Santa Barbara City Council. The company was specifically chosen because the automated voice system is an actual human voice, officials said.
“The company’s voice talent recorded all needed words used in a verbal dispatch including street names and common places,” Mr. DiGuilio said. “The main audio database contains all needed words to voice any dispatch and words chosen are ‘stitched’ together for a seamless message.”
The database includes more than 2,000 streets and several hundred common places, officials said.
In addition to the automated dispatch, several alerting tools were placed into each fire station to speed up the notification process. The aided equipment includes: additional speakers; LED reader boards; LED lights; and a mobile application.
Firefighters will now simultaneously hear the automated dispatch, the incident information will scroll on an LED board and their personal phones will display the particulars of the incident.