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Emergency Call Back Procedures: How Does Your Department Handle It?

My department has just started the process of updating our emergency call back system. We would use this when an incident has grown to the point that off duty personnel are needed for support. I would greatly appriciate knowing how your department handles this. Is it done by a computer aided system, or good old fashioned phone tree? Does your department have that policy in writing? Would you be willing to share it?

I am also interested in knowing how many people actually respond. For instance, if your goal is to restaff apparatus, how many people do you typically have to call in order to staff that rig. Some departments I've spoken to get about a 25% response. Does your department experience the same?

Thanks in advance.

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We are a paid dept which operates 3 houses w/ 12 guys total per shift, if we encounter an "off shift" which does happen for any structure fire. The off shift is radiod in to our dispatch which then sends it to us via pager (Motorola minitor) they also send it via text message to our cell phones. 9 times out of 10 a 12 +1 is called ( 12 firefighters and 1 battalion chief) we have it written that in short they will attempt a call back up to a reasonable amount of time before they look at calling in out side help i.e. volunteers from surrounding depts. 98 times out of 100 we usually fill the off shifts however. usually when the off shift arrives 3 guys come to relieve beaten up guys working, while the other guys will man reserve trucks to respond to additional alarms while the working crew is at the incident. In the past I have seen senior guys grab the phone list if their having trouble getting help, strangely more guys respond to that to that method perhaps they realize their really getting desperate. Hope this helped. Take care and stay safe.
If you want any more info on the way we do it please let me know and I can send you the official wording.
Thanks Shawn
Hey Mike,

We normally staff 3 on an engine and 2 on a medic unit. (Our engines and medics are housed together and the 5 people and 2 apparatus comprise a company. If we call in off duty people it will generally be to man reserve apparatus to take emergency calls in the city. Mutuial aid units if needed, are sent to the emergency. The SOP calls for 4 on an engine and 3 on a medic unit in those cases.

We contact people the old fashioned way, by telephone, via our comm center. If I remember correctly, if it is before midnight, the calls start with the previous shift and if it is after midnight it starts with the oncoming shift. I could send you copies of the procedures. I'm headed to FDIC tomorrow and won't be back til Friday night so it will be at least next week. \

Stay safe,

We are also in the process making a few changes to or re-call guidelines. We will beging using text messages from our dispatch center to recall off duty personnel. We will use this method to recall all ranks of the department. We set out recall in plans depending of the number of personnel required. The Shift Commander may request a recal by plan number to keep it simple. The max recall would be 2 full shifts that would get 66 personnel back. The system we use will send 100 text messages in 20 seconds. We hope this will get the recall process started faster than the process we use now which is individual phone call.
Our call back system is simple. Our E911 center has all personnel's pager numbers and cell numbers on one group. They simply bring it up in that CAD, and press the button. Hope this helps Mike.

Thanks for the responses brothers. I truly appriciate it.
We use a combination of systems. When needing to recall a limited number of staff, our dispatch center will call thorugh a prepared call list. Our staff has chosen to establish a call schedule that lists what shift is the priamry call back group for the day (We call back frequently to backfill for EMS transport activity). In fire situations and other incidents such as tech. rescue, MCI's, etc. we use the paging system (Motorola Minitors). We have specific tone sets to call all off duty staff back, just officers (BC's and above), or Tech Rescue Team members. This gives us the versatility to get the people we need for specific incidents or needs. Our dipsatch can generate these tones, our mobiles in our command vehicle, or our BC's portable radios are also programmed to encode the pager tones. So far it has worked well.
we are a paid dept in nj. we use a pager system and cell phone recall system. it can either be a shift recall on a small incident to a full dept recall on something larger. shift recall is the off going shift. we work a 1 on, 1 off, 1 on, 1 off, 1 on, 4 off. members returning depend on time of day.

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