The Communications Division plays a vital part of Baton Rouge Fire Department operations. When the fire department is graded, this division has consistently obtained the points necessary to assist in maintaining the Class I rating held by the department. Effective communication during an emergency is a critical component of the successful management of an incident requiring fire department response. November 7, 2002, marked a year that this division has occupied the fire communications section of the ATM/EOC building. This facility provides an environment that has been designed specifically for emergency communication needs.
A total of 28 personnel are assigned to fire communications. Twenty of these personnel are assigned to four rotating shifts that keep the communications center operational 24 hours a day. The Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Communication Officers supervise the division, and work straight days. Baton Rouge Fire Department employs 22 of these personnel, and St. George Fire Department employs the other six employees.
The dispatcher provided by St. George Fire Department has benefited the center greatly by providing additional manpower. The communications division is responsible for receiving and dispatching emergency calls to 19 fire stations in the city limits and 9 parish departments. The new facility has stretched our capabilities by providing additional consoles and equipment.
The Communications Division is also responsible for tracking unit movements, and knowing the location of emergency equipment at all times. This division works closely with fire suppression to provide any additional equipment or assistance that may be required at an emergency incident. This division is also responsible for risk communication to the public during an emergency incident by using the Community Alert Lines of communication. Residents in the affected area will be given safety measures to take during the incident to protect themselves.
Fire Communication personnel also help to maintain records and reports for the fire department. All fire reports generated from an incident are entered into the computer reporting system. A total of 29,869 incidents were entered into the system for 2011.
Effective management of emergency situations requires cooperation between responders and communication personnel. It also requires coordination between police, fire and EMS emergency communication personnel working in the different areas of the center. The Fire Communications Division looks forward to the new year of 2012 and working to be effective in assisting to manage emergency incidents.