City of Tampa Installs Voice Communication System
As Florida becomes increasingly urbanized and modernized, the state’s older municipal systems are feeling the strain. Many Florida cities are now in the market for up-to-date systems to serve the new wave of growth and renewal.
A typical case of a city that is moving to modernize and meet new requirements is Tampa. Areas of West Tampa and Ybor City are being opened up or renewed, presenting city officials with the opportunity to install the most modern municipal facilities, designed to meet comtemporary needs.
J.I. Mills, Tampa’s superintendent of fire alarms, was given the job of recommending new equipment for 30 new fire alarm boxes for West Tampa and Ybor City. For these new boxes, Mills selected the EVCS emergency voice communication system designed by Gamewell and supplied by Eagle Signal, division of Gulf + Western Manufacturing Company.
EVCS is a two-way voice communication system by means of which a citizen can report a fire, call for emergency medical help, or receive police assistance. In Tampa it is housed in the familiar cottage-shell fire alarm box. There is a door on the box, behind which is a familiar telephone handset. When removed from its cradle, voice contact with an emergency service is made within seconds.
In the Tampa system, calls go directly to the fire department where a dispatcher learns of the type of emergency involved and alerts the proper department, whether it is a fire, a police case, or a medical emergency. Even as the caller speaks to the dispatcher, an automatic record is made of the location of the emergency in case the caller is too flustered to give the proper location.
The system also has allowed for a reduction in the amount of fire equipment required to answer an alarm. “With a pullbox alarm,” Mills explains, “we have no choice but to send a full complement of fire fighting equipment every time the alarm sounds. But now, because we can speak to the person turning in the alarm, the dispatcher can determine the type and amount of equipment needed. This can be a big money-saver for us every year,”
Because the EVCS system is compatible with the telegraph fire alarm wire circuits used in the older pullbox system, there was no extra expense in Tampa for installing the new EVCS boxes. They were simply hooked up to the existing telegraph cables.