"What'd she say?"
THE MOBILE, ALABAMA, FIRE DEPARTMENT is phasing in a dispatch system where the radio dispatch transmissions are being broadcast by an automated digital voice.
The new system has been utilized on a trial basis for the past month and is now being brought online for full operation. The call-takers and dispatchers still function as always with the call-taker entering the info. into the computer, sending it to the fire dispatcher who reviews the call and initiates the proper response. What's different is that instead of the dispatcher following up with a vocal over the radio, an automated voice takes over and announces the dispatch.
Fire Chief Stephen Dean indicates on this video report that the procedure does not eliminate any jobs, but instead assures a consistent tone and diction to the "radio voice." Watch WALA-TV Ch. 10's report:
Firegeezer says: Always cynical, especially when major expenditures are committed without any savings, I am wondering out loud.
1) If the dispatchers' diction and "accents" are a problem, wouldn't hiring a tutor be a lot cheaper than purchasing this equipment and new software?
2) Is the City admitting that they are employing people to talk on the radio who are not qualified to talk on the radio?
3) Surely a department with a dispatch system this sophisticated has computer terminals in the cabs of the apparatus that display the address and details in printed format. If that's the case, then the "accent" problem is overriden.
4) Saves time? Come on…..
5) I'll bet you that the vendor who sold Mobile on this system convinced them that this could lead to eventually eliminating positions and relying on the computer for more and more phases of the call-taking and dispatch functions.
There's probably more to this story that we haven't been told yet.
Mobile Fire and Rescue Department WEBSITE.
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