Tuesday, December 22, 2009

V-TAC Management

We’ve all done it! You’re dispatched for the AFA to the nursing home, warehouse or business that you run, what feels like 100 times a year. Every time you get put in service in route or shortly after you arrive you quickly discover it is a false trip. Typically this all occurs on Fire 1. Typically we engage our V-TACs on such structures. What if the next time you show up, normal conditions from Side A, you and your team head in to investigate, still on Fire 1. This time you actually encounter a fire! You’re going to need a Talk Group! At this point though you are locked on to your V-TAC, no way easy to switch Talk Groups!

It is easy to say, “It’s just another AFA, no need for a Talk Group, we won’t be here long”. Would you send your firefighters in without airpacks on the standard AFA? No, because as responders we must always be prepared for the unexpected! So don’t send your firefighters in without a Talk Group.

When we were still using the low band system, it was alright to wait to request a channel, considering we had a limited amount of channels. Now that we are using the 800MHz system DPS is encouraging all responders to request a Talk Group on calls to structures where they know V-TAC’s are needed and there is potential for an emergency that may warrant the need of a Talk Group. Before you send your teams into the building, if Headquarters has not assigned a Talk Group request it! Switch to the assigned Talk Group on the mobile radio in the unit that will engage the V-TAC, and then engage the V-TAC.

V-TAC management is still a new concept in our county and something we all need to continue to train on. Looking for a topic for a company training night? Try V-TAC management! If you are interested in ideas or assistance for in house V-TAC training or have questions in general regarding V-TAC's please contact DPS!


  1. I have a simple solution to this problem. Have county automatically assign at Talk Group on calls.


  2. It is sometimes best to wait for Command to request a Talk Group for several reasons. First County has no way of tracking which incidents require the use of a V-TAC. Therefore it is best for Command to assess the situation and request one. It is also not practical to auto-assign Talk Groups. Every incident would have units on multiple Talk Groups simultaneously; those on the scene, those not yet responding and any responding mutual aid companies. So it is best that assigning Talk Groups be delayed until Incident Command is established and Command makes the request as a means to assign resources.
    Additionally it is important to note that during several meetings with DPS, including the County Fire Chiefs Meetings, it has been requested that County not automatically assign Talk Groups. It is important to note that County will not always wait for Command to request a Talk Group. County may assign a Talk Group early in an incident if Fire 1 is busy and radio traffic needs to be cleared for additional calls.