Leadership

Fire Communications: Are You Really Listening?

Issue 7 and Volume 141.

Fire Communications: Are You Really Listening? FEATURES COMMUNICATIONS Recognizing the dispatcher as the key link between public and firefighter is just the beginning. Fire department units believe they are operating at a routine refuse compactor in a 35-story residence building. During the operation, the dispatch center receives more than 21 additional phone messages, some from trapped occupants on upper floors, before the chief on the scene declares the minor cellar fire under control. These messages are not transmitted to the fire scene, and seven people on the top two floors perish. A department operating at a 20th-floor fire of a high-rise office building were never told of repeated calls from a trapped occupant. As the fire grew, the woman changed location and notified dis- patchers of her new whereabouts. The information was recorded, but not transmitted to the fire scene. She was found later—dead. These two events in New York…

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