The Tulare County Fire Communications Center or “FireComm” is a critical component n the provision of fire and emergency services to the people in the unincorporated areas of the county as well as the cities of Exeter, Farmersville, Lindsay and Woodlake by contract.
FireComm personnel are the first point of customer contact at perhaps the customer’s greatest time of need. The ability of an Emergency Dispatcher to quickly, calmly and accurately obtain information from a 911 caller is a critical component of an emergency response. The exact location, nature and extent of an emergency needs to be determined in a rapid manner while simultaneously entering the call data into the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System. This action is at the very heart of an emergency response. Fire Units are dispatched over radio frequencies that alert on duty career personnel from single or multiple stations. Simultaneously on call extra help personnel are notified of the emergency by pager.
Dispatchers also track the status of apparatus and equipment as they respond to and at scene of emergencies. In addition they support the incident commander by sending additional equipment, or by making notifications to other agencies or utility companies to assist at the scene.
Emergency Dispatchers also coordinate information for joint response with allied agency dispatch centers including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Tulare County Sheriffs Office, California Highway Patrol (CHP), State and Federal Forest Agencies as well as local municipal Public Safety Answering Points.
FireComm processes over 12,000 calls for service annually. This occurs 24 hours per day, seven days a week throughout the year. These calls range from structural, wildland, vehicle, agricultural and other fires to EMS/Rescue incidents such as traffic accidents, industrial entrapments and various hazardous conditions such as chemical spills, leaking gas, downed electrical wires or flooding conditions.
FireComm staffing is comprised of 10 personnel. The breakdown of allocated positions is as follows: 1-Dispatch Supervisor who manages the day to day activities of the center. 2-Emergency Dispatcher III positions who function as lead workers that assist in supervision of personnel and activities, and 7 Emergency Dispatcher I/II positions which are flexibly allocated based upon an employees time in grade, experience and training. The key characteristics of the level II position are the ability to work independently under minimum direct supervision, and the ability to train level I dispatchers. Several Extra Help Dispatchers are maintained and utilized during personnel shortages created by vacancies or short term coverage needs such as vacation, sick leave and peak workload periods. All personnel cover working dispatch consoles as required. Overall upper level program administration is provided by a Chief Officer.