The Communications Division of the Charlotte Fire Department, also called "Alarm," is a stand-alone 24-hour emergency communications center that is responsible for matching the public's requests with the resources of the Fire Department.
In fiscal year 2015, CFD Telecommunicators answered 177,606 emergency calls - 99.5% of those within 10 seconds. The department then dispatched more than 110,700 calls. Those calls can be related to fire, emergency medical, rescue and other service needs, and these outstanding, professional, highly trained men and women are able to obtain critical information when callers are erratic and under stress during emergency situations.
The Communications Division also provides key support to citizens, firefighters, law enforcement officers and other public-safety workers in the field. Two field communications units and two mobile command units can bring radio technology, computers, cameras, cable TV, hazmat monitoring, video teleconferencing capabilities and more - nearly anywhere they are needed.
Tactical Communications Team
The Tactical Communications Team has been in existence since June 10, 2006. It's made up of CFD Telecommunicators who respond to incidents and special events throughout the city, county, region, state, southeast and nation.
When the team responds to an incident, it can bring a variety of equipment to respond to these needs: operations special-response equipment (NC Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 3 and/or Haz Mat Regional Response Team 7), communications-specific equipment (Field Comm 1, Field Comm 2, Mobile Command P, Mobile Operations Center or USAR Comms), or individual personnel (RADO [radio operator], TERT [Telecommunicator Emergency Response Task Force], COMU [communications unit] single resource).
The team has responded to more than 500 calls since its inception, including:
- USAR-Tropical Storm Nichole – Brunswick County moving to Bertie County
- USAR-Hurricane Irene-Swift water rescue team deployed to Granville County
- COMU single resource-Hurricane Irene-COML deployed to Lenoir County to the EM Eastern Branch
- TERT-Deployed to Hyde County in response to a wildfire
- RRT-Deployed to Union County for a hazardous materials incident
- RRT-Deployed to Rowan County for a hazardous materials incident
- FC-Response to Moore and Lee County for a tornado outbreak
- FC-Response to Greensboro/Guilford County for a Tank Farm fire
The team has also taken part in numerous training and exercises, including:
- Joint USAR training with Salt Lake City Fire Department (FEMA UT-TF1)
- Joint training with member of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, which is a water-rescue organization in the United Kingdom
- FEMA Communications Specialist School-TEEX-College Station, TX
- Numerous search and rescue (SAR) exercises including the Dupont Rescue Experience and the Eastern Branch SAR exercise
- Training deployment to Emerald Isle Beach (Carteret County) in response to simulated Hurricane Larry