Fire Department Phone System
The needs of a fire department when it comes to phones and other modes of electronic communication are unique. The phone systems you will see connected to any firehouse will stand in contrast to those used by the local police station, hospital, or 911 call center. A fire department phone system will give emergency call center personnel access to the on-duty fire chief, as well as providing a clear line of communication from police and other emergency responders to the firehouse. Phone systems designed for use by firefighters will have battery backups and surge protection, usually, ensuring lines of communication stay open.
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As firehouses rely on the individual firefighting crews to take shifts, individual voicemail boxes may be used to relay messages to sleeping or off-duty firefighters. However, the primary use of phone lines will be emergency in nature, with occasional official notifications provided by law enforcement and other personnel through these channels. The primary method by which firefighters communicate with each other involves instant communication over radio channels, leaving phones open for use by emergency personnel. Because the emergency calls are so crucial to the successful operation of the fire department, these are given priority over non-official calls. Non-emergency calls are often routed to an automated answering service that is built into the fire department phone system, ensuring that emergency notifications always get through to those who are on-duty.
Residents of a town, city, or municipality usually have the option of calling the fire department directly by using the local number listed in the phone directory. The phone system is programmed to accept these calls with the same urgency as those coming directly from the emergency call center. However, residents are always encouraged to call 911 directly, as this is faster and the dispatcher will have no trouble relaying the information directly to the fire department. Phone debugging and routine maintenance are performed by IT professionals or city electricians responsible for the system, which will be tied into an infrastructure network that includes multiple servers, emergency generators and system backups.
Multiple phone units may be placed throughout the firehouse in order to give on-duty firefighters immediate access without having to run to the nearest phone. This also ensures that calls are never missed. Many homes and businesses have a security monitoring system installed that includes connection to smoke alarms, letting the security company call the fire department automatically on behalf of the home or business.
Most of the features of fire department phone systems come standard, with optional additions and subtractions of phones, features and equipment based on the unique needs of the individual fire department or district. Volunteer fire departments have a separate set of requirements when it comes to the installation of automated phone systems and emergency contact systems. They may need less or more than other fire departments, depending on the size of the workforce and the layout of the town itself. For this reason, many fire departments will have a custom-built equipment installation that accommodates their situation.