Rockford Uses Smart Efficient Dispatching Set-Up

Rockford Uses Smart Efficient Dispatching Set-Up

The Rockford, Ill., Fire Department, of which Wayne E. Swanson is Chief, has again made the headlines, this time as possessor of a unique condensed, stream-lined dispatching board and which Chief Swanson boasts has almost everything necessary for efficient fire department communications located within the operator’s reach.

The desk part of the unit which, incidentally, is the work of one of the members of the department, was made from surplus lumber obtained from Camp Grant. This is built around a specially constructed switchboard designed to fit the needs of the department.

The picture tells most of the story. Reading from left to right: at the far left is the frequency meter (required by the FCC); next comes the R. C. A. two-way F.M. radio; then the switchboard itself. To the right of the switchboard is the intercommunication system for the headquarters building; and last is the panel containing the operator’s A.M. radio; the last speaker hole with the switch directly below it contains the short wave radio that is tuned to the weather bureau at the Rockford Airport. The department, tunes in on this four times a day to receive the temperature, velocity and direction of wind which is in turn broadcast to all fire companies. This information is necessary for the reporting forms used by the department, according to Chief Swanson.

To the right of the switchboard, on the desk, is the electric time stamp which is used to time record the alarms as they are received by telephone. To the left on top of the desks is located a telephone that is used for outside calls made at the board. The next telephone is a long distance air raid warning instrument that was installed in the fire alarm office by the U. S. Air Corps and which is part of the local air raid warning set up. Next is the overhanging mike for the F.M. two-way radio.

Dispatching Board at Rockford Ill., Fire Headquarters

Directly above the switchboard is the master control box which, by pushing the lever on the side, enables the operator to talk to all companies at once. To the right of the switchboard, located on top, is the wire recorder used to record all telephone alarms as they are received.

Below the desk are located the starting switches that are used with the various instruments.

Fire alarm superintendents, in particular, will recognize the compactness of the arrangement. It is so constructed that three operators may work efficiently in case of a major disaster or emergency.

The desk is sprayed with the new steel gray similar to the finish used in modern steel furniture and presents a most attractive appearance.

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