800 System Procedures

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1 Emergency Button Activation: 800 System Procedures All ACFR radios are equipped with emergency button functionality. When this button is activated by the end-user, an audible alarm and a flashing visual icon appears on the communications officer consoles. Field end-users will utilize this functionality when otherwise unable to simultaneously broadcast a verbal distress message. In the event an emergency button activation occurs and no verbal explanation is provided with regards to the nature of the emergency, ECC will transmit the following message, (unit designation), confirm your status. In the event that ECC transmits this message and activation was inadvertent, the referenced unit s personnel should advise ECC of the error and reset his/her radio. ECC will then initiate a reset at the dispatch console. If no response is received to the dispatcher s query, ECC will contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to request an emergency response. Providing an affected unit an opportunity to clarify their actual disposition limits the potential for unnecessary activation of a law enforcement response. On the other hand, avoiding repetitive questioning will help preserve the overall safety and welfare of the affected party. Alternate Talk Group Assignments An alternate talk group for a specific incident (Tac) may be requested by responding units or assigned by the ECC. In any case, the ECC is responsible for the utilization, assignment, and management of talk groups. The ECC, upon dispatch, will announce which talk group shall be utilized by responding units (Fire Dispatch or EMS Dispatch). If a Tactical Talk Group is assigned, units will switch to that talk group AFTER arriving on the scene. On all major events, fire/rescue units assigned to the event will be directed to switch to an alternate talk group for operations. This direction may come on the Initial dispatch or later, should the event escalate (e.g., additional resources are requested, prolonged radio communications are anticipated, etc.). The IC may also request an alternate talk group as necessary. It is implied that in actuality, an incident talk group block has been assigned as opposed to a single talk group. Tactical Talk Groups are broken into two blocks of three talk groups each known as the Primary Block and the Secondary Block. If Tac Three (3) is assigned, the Primary Block has been assigned. Likewise, if Tac Six (6) is assigned, the Secondary Block has been assigned. The IC takes ownership of the associated talk groups within this block. Ownership of these groups is for the duration of the event. Any talk group assignments within this block will occur at the discretion of the IC.

2 Radio etiquette and discipline With the 800 MHz system users will be capable of speaking to almost anyone almost anywhere in the county at almost any time without reception or transmission issues. Not only are Fire and EMS talk groups available for use, but almost all public safety agencies in the region are included in the system. Zones for all three Police Departments, the Sheriff s offices, the jail, and the Airport are included in the system. Along with this ease of use must come discipline and etiquette for the appropriate and authorized use of individual talk groups and the 800 MHz system as a whole. All fire/rescue personnel must handle radio and telephone exchanges in a manner that conserves air time and facilitates the accurate, brief, and rapid transmission of mission critical communications. The use of non-standard procedures, the employment of needless or duplicative communications, or a lack of circuit discipline may cause delays, confusion, and/or unnecessary transmissions. ECC is ultimately responsible for maintaining radio circuit discipline; the rapid and efficient management of radio, telephone communications traffic, determining the order of priority in which radio transmissions are made, and directing and controlling the use of all radio talk groups. Please keep the following in mind when using the radio system: Line Officers o Portables are issued to ensure an appropriate number of radios on emergency scenes for operations and incident management. o Line Officers are NOT to mark responding to or on the scene of an incident. Line Officers who arrive FIRST on the scene ahead of any units may transmit an on scene report, establish command, and operate as the IC of the incident from that point on. o Line Officers shall only utilize the radio to transmit emergency information while responding to a scene. Any transmissions by line officers during a response shall be evaluated for appropriateness and feedback will be provided to the line officer as necessary. o Command Staff Officers (not Line Officers, unless acting in the capacity of a Command Officer: i.e. Duty One) responding to the scene are responsible for making command decisions and directing units and/or the ECC as necessary. Primary Talk Groups o The use of our primary talk groups is limited to communications essential to the conduct of official fire, rescue, and emergency medical services operations. In general, ECC retains ultimate responsibility for the control

3 of all talk groups applicable to fire/rescue services and as found within its fleet maps. FCC Operating Rules for Public Safety Agencies o Under the operating rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), it is unlawful to: transmit false call or false or fraudulent distress signals transmit unnecessary or unidentified communications transmit messages of a personal nature by radio use profane, indecent, or obscene language intercept, use, or publish the content of any radio message without the expressed permission of the proper authority cause unlawful or malicious interference to any other radio communications; transmit unassigned call signals willfully damage or permit radio equipment to be damaged, or deny access to any radio equipment if a properly identified representative of the FCC asks to inspect it. o We as a service are obligated to make our radio equipment available for inspection by authorized FCC representative, at any reasonable hour. Violations of FCC rules and regulations present violators with the possibility of being fined up to $10,000 or subject to a prison term of up to two years, or both. Basic Considerations When Transmitting o Listen before transmitting to ensure the talk group is clear and available. o Keep all transmissions brief and concise. Organize your thoughts first then transmit. Avoid lengthy descriptions and unnecessary repetition. While speed of transmission is important, more critical is the accuracy and brevity of the message being delivered. o Speak clearly and pronounce words carefully. Speak using a conversational tone with natural emphasis and rhythm while providing the message in phrases, not one word at a time. o Prior to speaking, depress the microphone switch and wait for the talk permit tone (similar to using the Nextel Direct Connect feature). Hold the radio (microphone) close to the mouth and speak directly into it, not across it. o Whenever possible, avoid transmitting when horns and sirens are operating. Radio messages often become unreadable. o Try to remain calm when transmitting messages. Avoid using uncivil, angry, abusive, derogatory, or sarcastic language. Avoid retaliating when others violate these principals of communication. o Whenever possible, identify one self and transmit a message in a single transmission. For example: Ambulance 139: Ambulance 139 to ECC, moving back to quarters. ECC: Okay Ambulance 139. (time stamp) o Avoid the routine use of radio checks and do not request strength and readability reports from ECC. In the rare instance that these tests are

4 conducted, a concise statement of the test results must be issued. For example, loud and clear, weak but readable, and unreadable are acceptable test result descriptions. o Do not advise the Dispatcher when switching back from another talk group. At all times, ensure your unit s personnel are operating on the appropriate talk group(s). o ECC simply announcing the time (time stamp) is never an appropriate acknowledgement of a unit s message. At a minimum, an acknowledgement must include the transmitting unit s number. For example, Okay Engine 61, 2142 or In service Truck 10, o ECC will always begin a service wide message with Attention all stations or Attention all stations and units operating on the air o Under no circumstances will ECC or field personnel inquire or transmit, on any talk group, that an injured or deceased victims are fire/rescue personnel. In addition, under no circumstances should the name(s) of injured or deceased fire/rescue personnel be transmitted over the air. Communications of this nature must be transmitted by telephone. 800 MHz Talk Around Channel In the event that a radio is no longer within network connection range of the 800 MHz trunk radio system, it will only be capable of being used as a traditional radio (similar to our low band and VHF radios). To accomplish this, the radio talk group must be changed to one of two talk around channels available. All stations should be familiar with the coverage area issues in their first due areas. This helps identify possible problem areas and enables stations to pre-plan operations in those areas. Although not always possible, the best case scenario is loss of 800 MHz network connectivity when it is anticipated. Examples of areas with possible network connectivity problems include areas at the extreme edges of the tower system, areas without a signal due to some physical blockage (mountain top), or in buildings. Realizing loss of network connection In the event a portable or mobile radio can no longer communicate with the 800 MHz system the user will notice a short tone every so often indicating the radio is no longer connected to the network. Procedure In the event of loss of network connectivity: User: Immediately switch the radio to the Talk Around Channel. This channel is a conventional channel included in the radio programming to provide communication in the event connectivity is lost. The IC is required to monitor this channel on every incident. If the incident is small (single company) than you will need to move around to

5 recapture network connectivity before being able to communicate. The ECC does not monitor the talk around channels. Once contacting the IC, wait for further direction from the IC (see options described below). IC: Should an Incident Commander receive information from a user, unit, or group as described above: 1. At the discretion of the IC, either the unit experiencing network connection problems or the entire operation shall switch to one of the talk around channels. In most cases, the entire operation will switch to ensure communication with all personnel working on the scene. a. Unit switches to talk around : If the unit experiencing problems is instructed to communicate to command via the talk around channel, command must monitor that channel at the command post in addition to any incident tactical talk groups being utilized. b. Operation switches to talk around : If the entire operation is switched to the talk around channel, command must also monitor the dispatch talk group for communication with the ECC. 2. The IC shall notify units operating on the scene and the ECC that the talk around channel is being used and which unit(s) are using it.

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