April 25, 2013
As one of the earliest European settlements in Massachusetts outside of the Plymouth Colony, Duxbury is a community with a long, proud history. But that doesn’t mean that the town, an outer suburb of tech-savvy Boston, is behind the times. A newly renovated Central Fire Station, for example, reflects the town’s historic roots in its architectural style but boasts technical systems that are anything but antiquated. The facility is the new home of the Duxbury Emergency Communications Center (DECC)
, which features a state-of-the-art dispatch system from Telex.
The renovation of the fire station involved tearing down an existing crew quarters wing and building in its place a new 6,170-square-foot wing that houses administrative offices on the first floor and firefighter quarters on the second. That freed up the second floor of the original structure, above the town’s Emergency Operations Center, for DECC, which was relocated from the police station. With a crew of five full-time and six part-time dispatchers, at least two of whom are present at all times, DECC serves the dispatch needs – fire, police, medical and emergency – not only of Duxbury, but also of surrounding jurisdictions.
“The primary reason for the dispatch system upgrade was the renovation of the fire station, which included us taking on 911 dispatching,” says Captain Robert Reardon of the Duxbury FD. “Our main requirements for a new system were flexibility and reliability. We also wanted a system that would allow us to control and use together all of the radio systems that were in use by the Fire Department, the Police Department, and the Department of Public Works (DPW).”
To meet these requirements, Duxbury turned to Charlie Friis of CFM Communications in Uxbridge, MA. “We have a long relationship with CFM,” Reardon says. “Charlie Friis is an amazing engineer. He designed the system for our specific needs, and he stands behind the Telex products.”
The new DECC dispatch system is built around a half-dozen Telex C-Soft software dispatch consoles, each equipped with an ADHB-4 advanced digital headset box and a microphone that attaches to the dispatch station’s touchscreen. Four of these C-Soft stations are currently installed at Central Fire Station and two more are being put together by Friis for the Police Department which are linked via microwave. All incoming calls are recorded from the C-Soft consoles into the 911 system.
The consoles interface with the system’s Kenwood TK 7180 and 8180 two-way radios, located in a climate-controlled IT room, via six IP-223 dual IP remote adapter panels at the fire station, which will be joined later by two more IP-223s at the DPD. “The IP-223s control twelve radios, with each radio capable of 100 channels,” Friis says. “So the dispatchers can talk to their surrounding communities just by touching the screen to switch the radio to the channel they want.” The IP-223s also interface with the radio system at Duxbury DPW.
“One big advantage of Telex over the other systems out there is the versatility of the software,” Friis says. “C-Soft gives us the ability to customize each dispatch station instead of living with a cookie-cutter solution. In Duxbury, for example, the screens of the police dispatch stations will be different from the fire screens. Another important advantage is the ability to drop in an IP-2002 telephone IP-based console from anywhere you have access to the network. Duxbury currently has eight IP-2002s installed, and are planning to add ten more. They also have a 12-line C-Soft instance running on a laptop that they use in their command vehicle, which gives them full communication with the dispatch center from anywhere in town.”
The dispatch system also includes a set of three Telex NEO-10 network I/O devices that allow integration with remote door releases from Bosch Security Systems, which control access to doors and bays at both the Fire and Police buildings. And an extensive Bosch security camera/recording system has been designed and installed by Joe Cebula of AlarmWorks
in Chicopee, MA. The CCTV system, which operates on the same network and is visible to dispatchers on a wall-mounted 42-inch Bosch monitor, includes a DLA series video storage appliance, Bosch VRM video recording management software and a dozen Bosch NBN and NDN series high-definition 720p and 1080p cameras.
“We now have endless radio capabilities and functionality,” Reardon says. “The biggest benefit is customization, which we have taken full advantage of in the way that we designed our screens. The dispatchers have so many tools that were never available before, and we’re able to put everything right at their fingertips. They can now easily simulcast, patch, play back audio, open bay doors, send tones, receive MDC ID’s and use all functions of the radios. So our Telex system is working out great.”