Automated Street Data Index System
A first of its kind, time-saving, automated street index retrieval system facilitating fast access to vital information regarding locations of fire emergencies has been put into operation at the North Bellmore Fire District’s dispatching center in Nassau County, N. Y.
Modernizing the alarm office, the machine, named Card System and featuring microfiche files, was designed and programmed by Image Systems Inc., of Culver City, Calif. The installation at North Bellmore’s office is the first of its kind on the East Coast. It was purchased by the fire district at a cost less than $10,000 and has been in use since June.
Filed in the machine is a complete index of the 7000 streets within 10 fire districts dispatched from the alarm office. Each street appears individually on a 15 X 18-inch screen after being retrieved automatically when a dispatcher presses a brief series of buttons.
Upon receiving an alarm, the dispatcher selects the town required, then the first initial of the desired street is selected on a keyboard. An alphabetical listing of all streets beginning with that particular letter appears on the screen—all within five seconds.
What appears then is the vital information which the dispatcher relays to responding fire fighters and rescuers. Each street index lists every street intersection. A selection of house numbers also appears so that the exact intersections can be announced when an alarm is transmitted. Also listed are station responses, map references, hydrant locations and even horn codes in one instance.
“Each of the departments we handle has different procedures such as station responses,” noted Supervisor Fred J. Mayer. “But the machine is adapted and programmed to tell us the different information each department wants.”
Mayer also adds that the machine features a complete listing of the more than 600 invalids residing in the 10 different fire districts. Each invalid listing appears separately and notes such information as the invalid’s house address, the exact location of the person in the home, name, age and the person’s disability. All invalid listings are updated annually by the individual departments.
Also included in the machine are detailed maps of the fire districts. The maps appear in easy-to-read sections on the viewing screen. In addition, a dozen neighboring fire districts’ maps are on file in the machine enabling dispatchers to direct units responding on mutual aid alarms.
Before the implementation of the Card System, dispatchers had to search manually through large trays of street indexes. Although the old system provided much the same information, the new system is much easier, more convenient and faster.
The alarm office handles more than 8000 fire and rescue alarms annually while serving 8 Nassau County Fire Departments—North Bellmore, Bellmore, Elmont, Merrick, North Merrick, Roosevelt, Lakeview, Uniondale, and the Bellmore-Merrick Volunteer Ambulance Company.