METRO CHAPTER, AMERICAN RED CROSS
FROM: Harold Engelke
TO: Disaster Services
DATE: 8 May 2003
SUBJ: Standard Operating Procedure for Red Cross 47.42 Mcs Channel, Suggestions for:
This deals with the sending a person to a place to do a job. In many cases the dispatcher must determine who is available then tell him where to go and what to do. Dispatching can be done without radio communications, but in our case it is provided as a tool to increase efficiency in our organization’s efforts.
To avoid interfering with other business activities in the same room, and they with you, keep all volume and speech levels to not more than required for efficient operations. The volume adjustment on the control adjusts the receiving level only and as no effect on your transmitting level. The transmitting voice level is an internal transmitter adjustment preformed by a technician by F.C.C. requirement, and is set to provide adequate response to you voice when near the microphone and yet not pick up background noises. Work close to your microphone so that your breath will not “blast” into the microphone.
Mobile units are equipped with a squelch control and its purpose is to keep the receiver silent between incoming calls. The base station also has such a feature but is preset and not operator controlled. If it was not for this squelch provision you would have to listen to a constant background of static between the reception of signals from other stations. The squelch circuit, properly adjusted, silences the static, but lets the signals from other stations come through. To adjust the squelch control, with the equipment on and the volume turned up a little, turn the squelch control until static is heard. Then adjust the control back in the other direction to just beyond that point where the static silences. Turning the control further beyond this point will also squelch weak signals and result in your missing some calls. Squelch adjustment is very important in our mobiles.
When the squelch control is adjusted properly it is normal for there to be what is referred to as a “squelch-tail” or “squelch-burst”. This is a short burst of static heard in the receiver after the station you have been listening to stops transmitting. The duration of this burst of static varies for different equipment but usually is less than a second and represents the time element involved in the squelch circuit electronically quieting you receiver.
A common failure in radio transmitter operating habits is not allowing a slight pause after “keying” the transmitter before speaking. This results in loss of the first word or two of the transmitted message. The time allowed should be at least one-half second.
In the practice of good microphone technique, good articulation is an absolute requirement. Proper talking speed is also important. An effort toward good articulation and toward avoiding the running of words together will automatically limit your talking speed to a satisfactory copying rate. The mobile operating is frequently receiving your transmission under adverse conditions of paying attention to traffic while driving and hearing you above the noises of his own vehicle’s engine plus the usual background of traffic noise on the streets. Your good operating habits will enable him to get it right the first time every time. The base station operator is the “voice of the Red Cross”. Be sure it sounds good. You must be business-like, courteous, and confident and calm in emergencies. As the base station operator, you are responsible for the efficient and smooth operation of the mobile units. If any mobile operator is not talking close enough to the microphone or not speaking loud enough or distinctly enough, instruct him accordingly. Keep in mind that mobile set microphone sensitivity is adjusted for working close in order to not pick up noise usually present.
All communication, regardless of their nature, shall be restricted to the minimum practical transmission time. Avoid unnecessarily transmissions and unnecessarily long transmissions. Before transmitting think of what you are going to say. Keep it brief and to the point.
Acknowledge all calls promptly. The caller, if not answered promptly, may assume that his equipment is not functioning properly.
Message coding is used to simplify dispatching, shorten air time and safeguard confidential messages. The National Red Cross suggests the use of the standard associated public-safety communications officers (A.P.C.O.) “ten-code”. The complete code is on file in the disaster service office. The following parts are suggested for local use:
10—1 Unable to receive
10—2 Receiving well
10—3 Affirmative, will comply
10—4 Message received
10—5 Relay following
J-1 By telephone
J-2 By radio
J-3 To Mr. -----
10—6 Busy, stand-by
10—7 Out of service
10—8 In service
10-12 Victim present
10-20 What is your location
10-24 Completed last assignment
10-35 Confidential information. May I transmit?
J-1 OK to transmit
J-2 Delay message until notified