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National College Credit Recommendation Service

Board of Regents  |  University of the State of New York

New York City Fire Department | Evaluated Learning Experience

Fire Dispatch Operations: Radio/Voice Alarm (COM 204)

Formerly Radio/Voice Alarm (COM 204)
Course Category: 

Version 1 and 2: 120 hours (3 weeks).

Bureau of Fire Communications, 9 Metro Tech Center, Brooklyn, NY.

Version 1: September 2007- September 2012. Version 2: October 2012 - December 2021. 

Instructional delivery format: 
Traditional classroom model
Learner Outcomes: 

Version 1 and 2: Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to: ensure that FDNY Units respond to their assigned alarms, training, relocations, and other dispatches and perform notifications, which are separated as primary and secondary. Primary notifications are made intra- agency during FDNY incidents and secondary notifications are made inter-agency.  VA (Voice Alarm) dispatchers also conduct call backs on behalf of FDNY Field Units to gather additional information. VADs (Voice Alarm Dispatchers) will become familiar with and use equipment including: the Starfire CAD, Voice Alarm Console, VESTA phone, ring-down lines, EBS phone, Motorola Radio Console, Status Entry Panel, and an Administrative computer. The Radio Dispatcher consists of two positions (Radio-In and Radio-Out). The Radio In performs several specific tasks such as reviewing all alarms for pertinent information, scrolling or reviewing all EMS alarms received for any changes in patient status as well as any potential dangerous or hazardous conditions, reviewing all CIDS (critical information) attached to an address which  contains any special instructions, special response and alerts to any dangerous or hazardous conditions, entering all signals and request for additional resources from the field units as well as special calling or adding specific units utilizing the Status Entry Panel (SEP), monitoring Unit statuses and availability, and entering progress reports and updates. The Radio Out is the main point of contact between the Communications Office and the Field Units. This Dispatcher ensures the response of units that have not acknowledged a run, assignment or relocation, announcing the alarm information to the responding units as well as giving any special instructions related to that incident, notifying units of special designations or responsibilities at an incident, announces escalating alarms and incidents occurring in other boroughs, broadcasting important messages such as department orders, and responsible for relaying all additional information to field units responding to or operating at an incident. Radio Dispatchers will become familiar with and use equipment including: the Starfire CAD, VESTA phone, Status Entry Panel, Motorola Radio Console, MIS Computer, and an Administrative Computer.


Version 1 and 2: Major topics include: an overview of voice alarm position, prioritizing functions at the voice alarm position, similarities and differences-radio and voice alarm, developing shorthand for radio communications, preliminary reports, citywide relays, introduction to SEP (Status Entry Panel), and emphasis on radio operations with voice alarm support. Methods of instruction include: supplemental readings, quizzes, final examination, and supervised on-the-job practice. 

Credit recommendation: 

Version 1: In the associate/certificate degree category, 1 semester hour in Public Safety Communications (11/07). Version 2: In the associate/certificate degree category, 3 semester hours in Public Safety Communications or Communications  (5/12 revalidation) (7/17 revalidation). NOTE: This course was previously grouped with Alarm Receipt Dispatcher (COM 202) and Decision Dispatcher (COM 203). NOTE 2: Effective December 31, 2021, this course was grouped under a new title "Probationary Fire Alarm Dispatcher Training (COM 210)."