The Windsor Fire and Rescue Emergency Communications Services is a state of the art resource centre that provides dispatching services to the City of Windsor and surrounding municipalities within Essex County, including Lakeshore, Essex, Tecumseh and Amherstburg. The Emergency Communications Centre not only meets, but also exceeds N.F.P.A. 1221 standard for fire department communications. There are 4 functional dispatch positions. Two are used daily and the remaining two are used in the event of a large-scale incident or emergency. This office operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and has 12 permanent employees. There are 8 communicators who work on rotating 12 hour shifts, and 2 coordinators who work strictly days. The first priority of the two on duty communicators is to answer all 911 calls and dispatch the appropriate units to each incident as well as any other resources that may be required on scene. All units are dispatched according to a “risk-based response”. In “risk based response” the number of units and personnel dispatched are based on the level of risk assigned to the property and/or occupancy. The type and number of units responding to a scene is dependent upon the incident on hand. Presently the Crisys computer aided dispatch system is used by the City of Windsor and the Towns of Amherstburg, Essex, Lakeshore, and Tecumseh.
Dispatching is provided by an 800 MHz P25 Radio System for the City of Windsor and a 400 MHz Radio System for the County municipalities. The dispatchers provide ongoing resources to operations during emergencies. They liaise with other dispatch centres and agencies to provide incident command with any hazard warnings, chemical information, wind direction, site plan details or any other data that may be needed to aid firefighters in their work. In addition, the emergency communicators are required to update and maintain all building and infrastructure information within the city, street information, hydrant size and location, and water mains. Information regarding contacts for businesses are updated each year on an ongoing basis. All of this information is inputted into the CriSys Computer Aided Dispatch System and is available at the fingertips of the Emergency Communications Operator.
The CriSys C.A.D. system consists of 3 screens and one interactive mouse. The first screen is for dispatching. All incoming 911 calls and direct fire alarms are received on this screen. This system allows for communications logging in two separate ways. The first is a visual log of all calls and incidents. Each incident is chronologically logged and can be accessed by mouse clicks within this screen. It then displays the original run report for that particular incident. The second method of logging communications is with our audio recorder and playback built right into the computer system. Every call and radio transmission is recorded. There is immediate access to this information through the audio playback. This is a very helpful tool. All transmissions are saved for 12 months. However, any material that has been recorded can be saved and accessed at a much later time or transferred to a hard file for legal purposes. The second screen is called the Workspace Manager. This screen provides an overview of the City of Windsor. It is possible, at a glance, to determine the location of all the fire units and their current status. The third screen is a territorial view of a particular area within the City of Windsor. This screen can zoom in or out making the picture larger or smaller. This computer is used to provide cross-street information, hydrant locations, and any property information that is required for both the City of Windsor and the County Fire Departments that Windsor Fire & Rescue dispatches for, such as Amherstburg, Essex, Lakeshore & Tecumseh.