12/9/2005 - State of the Art Communication Center at HFD

State of the Art Communication Center at HFD


With technology and computers changing on a daily basis, updating the very equipment that enables rapid response to emergency situations is of the utmost importance.

Acting Fire Chief Joel Thornton of the Hackensack Fire Department is very proud of the state of the art equipment that is now being installed. This enhanced equipment will help make our operations more efficient and will benefit our citizens.

Members of the fire Department, along with Deputy Chief Canzanella and Lt. Cariddi, researched the possibility of revamping the communications center through Federal Grants. A communications grant of $331,000 was awarded in April, to be used toward improving such our Communication Center.

The Hackensack Fire Department borrowed a trailer from Bergen County Police Department Communications to test that no interruption would occur while receiving 911, fire and rescue calls while improvements to the center are made. In November 2005, a trailer was provided by Creamer Construction Company, to set up a temporary communication center until the new renovation is complete. They hope to have the
new center completely operational by mid January.

At this point, the room has been gutted, the floors raised, wiring and electric are being completely overhauled and the center will be self sustaining with its own emergency generator. The center will have the latest technical advances in communications to ensure the safety of the residents including homeland security guidelines.


The center will now have the capabilities of a “think map”. This map enables the dispatchers to pinpoint where a call is coming from and to better dispatch the proper equipment. Eventually all new cell phones will come installed with Global Positioning System (GPS) which will enable “think Map” to pin point the location of a cellular caller who is reporting an emergency.

The computer aided dispatch (CAD) will also have descriptions of buildings, hazards, hydrant locations with main sizes, invalid lists, and many other useful features so that assist the firefighters in being more proficient at their jobs.

The mobile data computers installed in three ambulances and two deputy cars have a GPS tracking system enabling the dispatcher, as well as the firefighters and EMS personnel, to see where equipment is and to dispatch
the closest equipment. They are also now able to communicate without a radio and to use touch screen capabilities to make the rescues more efficient while in the equipped trucks.

Another advancement in technology, is the use of a leaky cable. Many structures that are made of steel, lead, and concrete, do not allow for good communications with radios and cell phones. The leaky cable will enhance fire department communications within these structures. The Hackensack University Medical Center has installed a leaky cable so that the Hackensack Fire Department would be able to communicate during an emergency situation.

The new state of the art equipment will help the Hackensack Fire Department to better protect the citizens and to transition the city into a safer place.