Burbank Fire Department Upgrades Dispatch System to Improve Response Time

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Verdugo Fire Dispatch Center ( File Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Beginning at 5 am on Tuesday, May 12, The Verdugo Fire Communications Center (VFCC) implemented a brand-new computer-aided dispatch (CAD) software system, the City of Glendale Fire Department announced in a press release Tuesday morning.

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The announcement arrived following a two-year development process between the VFCC and the 13 fire agencies it serves, including the Burbank Fire Department (BFD). The previous dispatch system had been in place for 30 years and, although it provided a dependable transmission medium for the BFD, both the quality and quantity of information able to be delivered was restricted. 

Whereas the old system relied on radio data modems to communicate, the new CAD software transmits information through innovative measures which will improve messaging and response times throughout the community.

“The new system transmits data through a private and secure cellular “data tunnel”, which allows for critical information to be transmitted quickly between our dispatch center and field units,” Burbank Deputy Fire Chief Danny Alvarez said.  “Essentially, the new CAD improves the flow of information between callers, dispatchers, fire stations, and mobile units. Additionally, enhanced mapping features provide better situational awareness for our field units and more effective response.”

In their press release, the City of Glendale Fire Department included statistics of California 9-1-1 response times. The state answers 9-1-1 calls in less than 15 seconds 95% of the time, while The Verdugo Fire Communications Center beats this figure by responding to emergency calls within 15 seconds 99.58% of the time. 

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Introducing the advanced CAD software will only serve to improve this already-impressive statistic through a strong automatic vehicle location (AVL) arrangement. 

File Photo by © Ross A Benson

“The old CAD system would dispatch units based on pre-identified fire blocks,” Alvarez said. “The new system has an improved AVL system that allows for the CAD to quickly identify the closest unit to the incident, regardless of fire block. The new system also has enhanced mapping features and internet capabilities, which provides better situational awareness for responding units.”

The improved CAD system has emerged in a timely manner when all city units are striving to meet the community’s needs during the global COVID-19 epidemic.

“The Burbank Fire Department is working diligently along with all City departments to continue to provide a high level of service to the City of Burbank during this unprecedented global emergency,” Alvarez said. “Providing for the safety of our employees and our community remains our top priority.”