Tulare Fire Department to get new dispatch system

TULARE, Calif.

Right now, the Tulare Fire Department is not using any sort of electronic system to respond to calls. Next spring they're hoping to toss their paper maps and use a GPS system to get to emergencies faster.

Before these Tulare firefighters respond to an emergency -- the 9-1-1 call gets routed to a dispatch service which looks at a map to decide which fire engine is closer to the scene. If it's a fire, after flipping through a map-book to find the closest fire hydrant, the crew is finally on their way.

Tulare Fire Battalion Chief, Cameron Long said, "And so on a lot of calls where there's a 30 second 45 second dialogue on the radio of ok who's closer I'm closer we'll take the call."

Starting next spring, the Tulare Fire Department hopes to eliminate seconds and possibly minutes of wasted time on their 52-hundred yearly calls by going to a GPS-computerized dispatch system.

The new system will be run out of Tulare County Consolidated Ambulance Dispatch, which already manages its medical calls. All fire engines will be GPS-monitored. When an emergency call comes in, dispatchers will automatically be notified of which engine is closer to the scene.

Anna Smith said, "So we can truly dispatch the closest engine to a call instead of it being based on boundary lines on a map so the closest engine to a call will be recommended thru our computer aided dispatch system."

Firefighters will also have more technology in the field. Along with a computer in the trucks, crews will have mobile devices that give them information about their call.

"That'll tell them you've been here before and this is the type of incident you had all that kinds of stuff will be immediately available," said Long.

This is actually the first update to the fire department's dispatch system in 30 years. The new system is costing the city $177-thousand to start and then $22-dollars a call.

The department hopes to have everything up and running in April.

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