Public Safety Communications - September/October 2015 - (Page 44)

CDE # 3 8 94 8 Mobile Disp T By Debbie Gailbreath, RPL PSC | oday's successful business world relies heavily on technology and electronic communication. The Internet, automated scheduling, instant messaging, online education, email, voicemail and "apps" are now a part of our everyday lives. The same necessity holds true for public safety communications. Electronic communication between the PSAP and emergency responders in the field is essential, and it is available. 44 Often referred to as "silent dispatching," the use of mobile data terminals (MDTs) dates back to the early 1980s. Originally used by law enforcement to interface with computer aided dispatch (CAD) systems, this technology is also now frequently used by fire department and EMS responders. More recently referred to as mobile computer terminals (MCTs), or laptops, these devices can also interface with mapping, global positioning systems (GPS), and automatic vehicle location (AVL), in addition to other evolving public safety technologies. Laptops are often equipped with an emergency alert button, which transmits to the telecommunicator and other laptop users when activated by the field unit. Laptops are used by field units to electronically receive dispatch event information obtained by the communications center for response to the event. CAD information including the event location, caller/reporting party information, incident type, and other pertinent event-related and safety-related specifics is transmitted electronically rather than via radio. Electronically providing this dispatch information reduces radio traffic and provides for a visual receipt and review of the information. Once the information is received, field units can perform their own event status functions such as en-route, onscene, and cleared from event. Because event assignments are electronic and field units can manage their own status, telecommunicators are provided automated tracking and status changes of field units, which are reflected on the telecommunicator's CAD unit status monitor. Field units can obtain event case numbers, make commentary notes, and access pertinent information for reports without having to make inquiries to the telecommunicator. Field units can also electronically self-initiate event statuses such as meal breaks, court appearances, and other "out-of-service" conditions. Laptops enable messaging among field units and between the call taker/ telecommunicator and field units, allowing for non-radio discussions, informationgathering, and the transmitting/receiving of confidential communication. The use of laptops for silent dispatching reduces radio traffic and in turn, can reduce dispatcher-tofield unit ratios and the telecommunicator's workload. Laptops also provide field units with the ability to create electronic incident reports, traffic citations and process vehicle crash investigations. COMPUTERIZED INFORMATION: AN ELECTRONIC REPOSITORY OF RESOURCES In addition to electronic dispatching of events and tracking of units, laptops provide emergency responders access to many essential resources. These resources may be used by individual responders, or groups, teams or commanders responding to large-scale

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Public Safety Communications - September/October 2015

Membership Information
Board of Directors, Executive Council & Chapter Presidents
President’s Channel
On Scene
APCO Bulletin
Buyer's Guide
Calls for Fire Service & CDE Exam
Mobile Dispatch & CDE Exam
Institute Schedule
Telecommunicator Spotlight
Top Ops
Ad Index
Member Services

Public Safety Communications - September/October 2015