Out With Ontario’s Once State-Of-The-Art Dispatch System In Favor Of CONFIRE

Ahead of its termination of its dispatch services arrangement with the City of Ontario’s fire department in favor of being consolidated into the Consolidated Fire Agencies joint powers authority, the Chino Valley Fire District will make an $800,000 upgrade to its dispatch reception and alerting system at all seven of the district’s fire stations in Chino and Chino Hills.
In the 1980s, the City of Ontario leapt ahead of virtually all of the governmental agencies in the region, with what was then its state-of-the-art emergency dispatch system. Multiple agencies on the west side of San Bernardino County contracted with Ontario to provide dispatch service, which was run out of the basement of that city’s fire department headquarters.
Nearly forty years later, other entities have caught up with, and in some cases surpassed what Ontario has to offer.
This week, the Chino Valley Fire Board of Directors approved making an $800,000 upgrade augmentation to its internal dispatch alerting systems at seven fire stations in Chino and Chino Hills to facilitate a previous move to end its contract dispatching arrangement with Ontario and receive
that service from what is known as the Consolidate Fire Agencies Network Program.
The augmentation, known as the West Net First In alerting system is projected to be installed for $800,000, though the board agreed to set aside a 15 percent contingency for change orders, to accommodate an increase in the cost to as much as $920,000. Fire Chief Tim Shackelford would need to first approve those change orders in advance if the cost rises above$800,000.
Newly-elected board member Winn Williams registered his opposition to committing to the contingency. The remainder of the board, Sarah Evinger, John DeMonaco, Harvey Luth and Mike Kreeger acceded to it.
In September, Chino Valley Fire committed to realigning its dispatch services from Ontario Communications to the Consolidated Fire Agencies Joint Powers Authority, which goes by the acronym CONFIRE JPA.
For the sake of compatibility, the West Net First In alerting system had to be installed. West Net First In is a product offered by a CONFIRE-approved vendor, according to district staff report. CONFIRE will take on dispatch service for the district no later than mid-April. The dispatch capability CONFIRE offers is more flexible and responsive, and is cable of providing individualized crew notification throughout the stations with what is termed “specific unit notification signaling,” along with independent turnout timers as well as enhanced functionality throughout the stations, according to the report.
“It better equips the crews to respond more efficiently,” according to the report.
The district’s current alerting system has been in place for 15 years and is obsolescing and is not likely to be updated or revamped. It will take at least a week to install the new system in each station.

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