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Digital dispatch transition
At 8pm on 2 April 2014, District 12 transitioned to the Talkgroup 512 marking the first regional District to transition to the digital dispatch service.
The hard work of all involved parties including operational staff, Brigade Management Teams, CFA members, VicFire and the RRDS project team paved the way for a smooth and successful transition of the district to the new service.
Operations Officer Justin Dally, from District 12 who was the Rostered Duty Officer on the night said the transition was "straight up and easy". Mr Dally commented that "all the lead up work - testing, Reflash, trials and training have paid dividends. It’s made it easy for the Brigades to step into Category 1 and the new digital service."
Less than two hours after District 12 transitioned to digital Talkgroup 512 Alexandra Group responded to a structure fire in Eildon. While Alexandra Group has been trialling Talkgroup 512 for group communications since January, this was the first time the brigade transitioned to Category 1 procedures and communicated directly with VicFire. Mr Dally noted that the brigade dealt with the transition very well and commended VicFire on their handling of the dispatch calls.
District 12 members and operational staff involved in the transition agreed that the audio quality and clarity was the standout feature of the transition from analogue to digital dispatch service. Second Lieutenant Len Timmins, Incident Controller at the structure fire at Eildon on Wednesday night said "the audio was really perfect. Previously, we’ve had a lot of areas with dead spots but now with digital dispatch, it’s not a problem, its perfect."
Speaking about the change from Category 5 to Category 1, Lieutenant Timmins said the move "wasn’t really difficult at all, especially since I’ve been involved from very early on." Lieutenant Timmins participated in the Train the Trainer program and delivered the learning package to his brigade. When asked about his experience of moving to VicFire, Lieutenant Timmins said that one of the benefits was that "once you’ve spoken to VicFire you no longer had to follow up the call for resources".
Operations Officer Justin Dally advised that digital dispatch provided huge benefits in terms of improved situational awareness. The new service and move to VicFire provides a greater understanding of what is going on across the district and allows for better district-wide management.
It is early days in the transition of all regional Districts to the digital dispatch service. Districts 15 and 2 are scheduled to transition in April with others to follow over the coming months.