New computer terminals being installed in Burbank Fire Department
rigs will allow firefighters to access a wide array of information
right from the scene of a blaze.
Mobile-data terminals are being installed in 20 depart- ment
vehicles, including all front-line and reserve trucks, engines,
rescue ambulances and command vehicles, fire officials said. The
systems will not be installed in the department’s staff cars.
The new terminals, which officials said cost $4,800 per unit, are
being installed throughout the coming months, and officials hope to
have the computer system running sometime this summer.
The existing terminals in the fire vehicles consist of a four-inch
screen that transmit only small amounts of text from the dispatch
center, Battalion Chief Bill Sanders said. The new terminals look
similar to laptop computers and feature full-size keyboards and
The Microsoft Windows-based systems will allow units in the field
to download information from city and fire department servers.
Firefighters will be able to look at the floor plan and any
hazardous-material information for a particular building right from
the scene of a blaze.
“If we can retrieve that information in the field, it will make a
difference in our speed and efficiency,” Sanders said.
Firefighters will be able to run a variety of software programs on
the new terminals and do tasks like report-writing from their rigs.
The system can also be updated with new dispatch and communication
One upgrade fire officials are hoping to add is Global Positioning
System capabilities. That technology would allow dispatchers to
quickly locate and notify the closest units to a particular incident.
Currently, dispatchers assign companies based on the district an
incident occurs in, but sometimes a crew from another district might
actually be closer, officials said.
The new computer terminals are being installed in rescue vehicles
from all nine cities served by the Glendale-based Verdugo
Communications Center. In addition to Burbank, cities served by the
center include Glendale, Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, San Gabriel,
San Marino, Sierra Madre and South Pasadena.