Contents of the DISPATCH.DOC file
A Dispatch System For Emergency Response
Version 2. 01
Lance R. Underwood
copyright (c) 1991, 1992
All rights reserved
For IBM PC or Compatible
PC/MS DOS 3.1+ or later
Color or Monochrome
The Fire Dispatch program is a shareware product. You may try
Fire Dispatch to see if it fits your needs on a trial basis
You may copy and distribute this shareware program freely.
If you plan to use it after the trial,(usually 30 days) print
and then fill out the ORDER.FRM on the distribution disk and
send it along with full payment to:
D I S C L A I M E R
The author, Lance R. Underwood makes no warranties expressed
or implied as to the quality or performance of this program,
nor its fitness for a particular purpose.
The author will not be held responsible for any direct,
indirect incidental or consequential damages resulting from
the use of this program. YOUR USE OF THIS PROGRAM
CONSTITUTES YOUR AGREEMENT TO THIS DISCLAIMER and your
release of the author from any form of liability or
The Author is a Fire Chief in a Volunteer Fire Department in
South Western British Columbia.
Please read this .DOC file completly before using
This program was written for Fire and EMS departments that
require a fast easy to use, Dispatch system.
Although Fire Dispatch sells for many times LESS than most
dispatch systems it is superior in many respects.
Written with the Btree indexing system. Fire Dispatch
automatically balances key files. The data file is
automatically maintained and deletions in both the data and key files
are made available for re-use, therefore making re-packing unnecessary.
Fire Dispatch will find part of a Name key and allow you to
easily search for all names with those letters.
Fire Dispatch will let you print out a formatted record for
inclusion in the incident file along with automatic Time of
Dispatch, Time of Acknowledgement, Time of Arrival etc.
Fire Dispatch will let you Edit records easily to keep them
Fire Dispatch will let you Blank the screen so that you may
keep the program running without burning your screen.
Fire Dispatch will highlight important information for the
Fire Dispatch will scan up and down a street when an address
Fire Dispatch is very easy to operate. Ease of use means
that the training period for Dispatchers is minimal.
For those of you that may not be familiar with "Keys" and
Database files here is a brief explanation.
Database programs have "Key" fields. These are fields
that are "Unique", they have no duplicate. A phone number is
"Unique", an address is "Unique", but a Name sometimes is not.
Fire Dispatch uses 6 "Unique" fields. These are File number,
Address, Phone (2 fields), and Name (2 fields). The Name
field IF NOT "Unique" will be MADE "Unique" by the program.
The program will not let you enter duplicate File, Address, or Phone Number(s) and will prompt you to change them if you do.
The "Keys" in the dispatch program are Phone (both fields if not duplicates of one another), Address, Record Number(called File Number in the program)
and Name. If there are duplicate names the program finds the first duplicate
of the Name you are after. You can then use the Search function to find all
other duplicates of the same name.
Here are the rules you must observe when using Fire_Dispatch.
1. Start Fire Dispatch by typing FD at the Dos Prompt or use FD/m if you
want to use 12 Hr. time instead of military time on the screen.
2. When Entering Names in Fire Dispatch the LAST NAME must be entered
FIRST, followed by the first name or initials. ie: UNDERWOOD LANCE or UNDERWOOD LANCE R .
3. Do not use extra spaces, periods, apostrophes, or quotation marks when entering KEY inormation. (You may remember how you entered the information
but someone else looking for a record may not be able to find it unless
some standard is kept).
4. You can get back to the main menu by Pressing on some, but not
all menus. (For instance when editing a file you cannot use and
must use until finished.)
5. The program will ask you to "Enter Search Values". These are the
"Key" fields that you have entered in your records. ie; File Number,
Address, Phone Number, Name (SurName, Given Name(s)/initial(s). These must
be entered the same way you have entered them, in the dispatch record.
6. The program expects at least a File Number and Address. It will prompt
you to enter these and will not let you continue without them.
Any other fields may be left blank.
8. When entering Phone numbers do not enter the second phone number
unless it is different from the first. (ie: DO NOT USE "SAME" )
9. After getting a record you will notice near the upper left hand
corner ie: "TOD = 12:30:30" . This means the TIME OF DISPATCH.
When you have received confirmation that the truck(s) are on their way
to the incident, by pressing "T" you will record the "ACK". ie: 12:34:00.
This means ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. When the first truck has reached the incident,
by pressing T again you will record the TOA. This means TIME OF ARRIVAL.
After the incident is over and the truck(s) have arrived back to the Hall,
press T again to record the TBH. This means TIME BACK HALL (time equipment
arrive back to hall). After entering this information use P)=print to make
a hard copy of your incident.
10. In your Config.Sys file make sure you have at least files=20.
If you are not sure how to do this refer to your DOS manual
for more information.
11. For fast information retrieval make sure your disk is not fragmented.
Use a good compression utility like PcShell or Norton Utilities once
in a while. These programs will also check your disk and warn you if there
are any problems.
Last but not least, make regular Back-ups of your important files.
Record Number: (called File on-screen)
The program will always tell you the correct key.
By pressing the program will then proceed to let you enter
the other information you will need.
To keep your records in order please follow this numbering system.
If you press = Change Number, the program will ask if you really
want to use the number or not. Press or "N" if you
do not. If you press "Y" and the program finds the same number in the key
file it will then prompt you again to change the number.
If the number you enter is higher than the prompted number the program will ask you if you really want to enter this number or not.
If you delete a record and then enter another record, the program
will beep and show the number that was deleted. Press to use this
number.(Note: all deleted numbers are kept in a file called "DelFile.ndx"
when re-used the number is then deleted from this file.)
Enter the address of this record.
If this is a duplicate address and you attempt to save
the record the program will not accept it, and will ask you
to supply the correct address.
Duplicate File Numbers, Address's and Phone Numbers are not
allowed in Fire Dispatch. This is to stop you from entering
the wrong File, Address or Phone number and to keep the key
files from giving you false information.
Enter the NUMBER of Occupants here.
Enter the NUMBER of Children here.
Enter NUMBER of Handicap(s) here.
The only place you may have a duplicate is in the Name field.
If you have twenty Smith John's, then you can enter them as
SMITH J, SMITH JACK, SMITH JOHN,... SMITH JOHN, SMITH JOHN
etc. The program will make all duplicate names "Unique" automatically.
If you must find a "SMITH JOHN" type Smith John at the
prompt then type "S"= Search for Name. At the prompt type "Smit"
to get all the Smith's or "S" (without the quotation marks)
to get all the names starting with "S".
Enter the phone number here.
This is probably the most used "Key" as all phone numbers are
unique and it is easier to type a phone number than an
address or Name. There are two fields for a phone number, if
both fields are not unique then enter only one field.
Type in the spouses name here or leave it blank if you wish.
The most common use for this entry is when you have two
people with different names living at the same address.
Fill this in only if there is a different phone number than
the one above. Again the program will not allow you to use a
phone number that is already in use.
If the phone number is the same as the one above leave it
Own: and (Next)Own:
If the dwelling is owned by the tenant then answer Y OR
answer N. (Any information can be left out except of course
the "key" information)
Occ: and (Next)Occ:
If the dwelling is Occupied then answer "Y"
This is the first station that will respond to this incident.
Use Abbreviations or use a Hall number.
This is the station that will be used for the backup if
needed. Use abbreviations or Hall Number.
This is the water source or Hydrant that this address is closest too.
Municipality or county this address is in.
If address is in a Subdivision then use "Subdivision Name"
If you have a mapping system enter the map Number for
If an address is between one or two Cross streets fill this in.
Eg: Albert street/Kitchener street
You now know the address is between Albert and Kitchener.
If there is any hazard that is known at this address, fill
this in. eg: haz materials, low power lines, narrow driveway.
If any medical situation is known at this address fill this
in eg: Old age home, Hospital, Handicapped person(s) etc.
Special notes on this address would go here. eg: School at
1234 North Battleford Enrollment: 700 etc. Or give directions
on the best approach to that address.
Type in the building type here. eg: School, Apartment, Mobile
Home, Bungalow, Two Story Bungalow etc.
Type in Entrances to dwelling here. eg: 1 Front 2 Rear etc.
Type in Construction of building here. eg: Wood Frame, Metal
Clad, Brick etc.
Type in number and location of bedrooms here. eg: 2 main,
1 base etc.
Type in any other building types that are on the property.
Att'd Garage, Barn,Hay Barn etc.
Place date of inspection here. eg: 01-01-1992
If there are violations type (without the quotation marks)
"Y" or "N" if none.
When the file has been entered answer "Y" to the prompt and
the record will be saved.
The 6 "Key" entries are "File", "Address", (both)"Name" and
If there are any Duplicate Key entries the program will ask
you to change them. If you have inadvertently entered a
duplicate key in this record the program will highlight the
key that needs to be changed so you can edit it. After
duplicates have been edited the program will save the record.
Editing a Record:
The program will ask you for the File to edit.
You can use the File number, Address, Name, or Telephone
Number to get the file to edit.
The editor will not let you change the File Number and goes
directly to the second line, which is the Address field.
Delete a Record:
The program will ask you for the File to DELETE.
You can use any of the 6 keys to get the record.
The program will ask you if you really want to DELETE this
Answer "Y" if you do or "N" if you do not.
Re-Indexing Key Files:
This selection may never have to be used and is only here in case
you wish to Re-Index the Key files.
The program will delete and then enter information into
four key files, from six different places in the data file.
Depending on the number of records in the Dispatch.dat file,
this option may take some time to complete.
The program will re-name your original key files with a .bak extension
This selection will allow you to Enter Phone Information you may
Enter each selection with the proper phone number and Mutual
When you have selected a record you will see a menu
selection.... A)=Phone Help.
Press "A" to display this information in a window at the
bottom of the screen.
Pressing the space bar or any other key will make the window
Use this selection on the main menu to blank the screen.
Pressing any key will Un-Blank the screen.
As a safety measure, when you blank the screen any information
in Ram will be written to your files.
Quit program and return to DOS.
After getting a record, you will notice near the bottom of
the display a menu with...
S) = Search for Name F) B) = Scan Up/Down Street T) = Time of Arrival
A)= Phone Numbers P)= Print and to Continue.
By pressing "S" you will be prompted to enter 1 - 4 letters
of the last name you wish to search for.
By Entering the First letter of the last name the
program will show all Names that start with that letter.
You can then press "F" or "B" to look through the file in Forward
or Backward sequence until you reach the end of file.
If you wish to Scan Up or Down a Street press "F)=Scan Up Street" or
"B=Scan Down Street".
The program will ask you for the Street Address. By using the street
address in the record you already have on the screen you can then Scan Up
or Down the street or Scan through the whole data file using this option.
T) = Time of Arrival:(TOA)
You will notice a time display near the top left hand corner of the screen.
(eg: TOD=24:00:12 TOD meaning Time Of Dispatch) This is the Time this record
was accessed and you are dispatching. When the crew is leaving the hall
you can press T again to record the "ACK" meaning TIME OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT".
When you have received word that the truck has arrived at the incident you
then press "T" to enter the TIME Of ARRIVAL. When the crew has arrived back
at the hall, by pressing "T" again you will record the "TBH". Meaning Time
crew arrived back at the hall.
This will cause the program to write to a file and enter the Record Number,
Date, TOD, ACK, TOA, AND TBH. However if you receive another call after
entering the Time Of Acknowledgement (ACK), the program will ask you to save
the information you already have before leaving the on-screen record.
After using the "T" command you can print out the information you have
on-screen and any informtion that is not filled in will be asked for.
A)= Phone Numbers:
By pressing "A" you will see a window that will give you the
phone number and names of Mutual Aid Depts. that you entered using the
option Set-Up on the Main Menu.
By pressing "P" you can print out the record that is on
display at the present time.
This prints the information you will need in an incident
report and also prompts for some of the more pertinant
information you may want to enter.
Do not worry if the next line overlaps the previous line. This
was done to give enough room for all the information and does
not affect the print out.
With litigation the way it is these days, you will
notice that when the program asks for "Cause of Fire :"
I have added "In my opinion.." .
If you do not wish to have this in your program, let me know
and I will take it out. (Place a comment to that effect in
Problems and Solutions:
I can't find the records I want.
Before Using the Fire Dispatch program you should set a format that will be
used for ALL record entries.
Make sure when you enter records you use the LAST NAME and then the
FIRST NAME and or Initials. ie: UNDERWOOD LANCE, OR UNDERWOOD LANCE R etc.
Use the same format for all records. If you enter a "period" after an
initial you must do the same on all records.
The same would apply to Street addresses. ie: If you enter 1234 KITCHENER
STREET when you entered the record, then to find the address you must enter
1234 KITCHENER STREET and not 1234 KITCHENER ST.
In our department we do not use periods after initials, and NO abbreviations
for streets, avenues etc. Also all phone numbers have a "-" (hyphen) after
the third number ie: 955-6145. Set a policy the dept. will follow for
I want to use 12 hr. time for the clock on the screen.
The default is 24 hr. or Military time.
When starting Fire Dispatch type FD/m at the dos prompt.
This will start Fire Dispatch and show 12 hr. time instead of Military or
24 hr. time. You will have to type this each time you re-start the program.
(Note: When you make a print out of an incident, the print out will always
be in Military time.)
I want to scan up and down a street.
After finding a record using one of the "Keys", you will see near the bottom
of the screen, F) B) = scan up/down street.
Pressing F or B will give you a prompt at the bottom of the screen asking for
the address to scan.
Type the address you see at the top of the screen, (or any other legal address) and press .
This will enable you to press F or B to go forward or backward (up/down street).
When you run out of addresses for that street press F or B to rescan the street or press to return to your original record.
I want to find all the "Smiths" in the record file.
By entering "1" at the "Enter search value" prompt you can get the first
record in the record file.
Near the bottom of the screen you will see "S) = Search for Name
Press S and at the prompt enter either "S" to see all names that start with
the letter "S" or type "Smit" to see all names that start with "Smit".
Then use F or B to scan forward/backward through the list.
I want to find any record in the file.
By entering a legal record number at the "Enter search value" prompt, you can
find any legal record number in your record file. ie: enter 1 to find first
record 2 to find second etc.
When do I have to RE-Index key files?
Probably never. This would only be used if you have a power outage when the
program is writing to a key file, or your key files become corrupt for some
CAUTION: Make regular back-ups of all your important files.
Any comments or suggestions regarding this program would be
I have also written a program for Fire Departments called
FireFighter (c) copyright 1990, 1991. The Latest version is
This is a tracking database and some of the things it will do
for you are:
1. Keep your Firefighter Roster up to date.
2. Print out individual Records or Whole Rosters.
3. Keep track of Practice and Training Records
4. Keep track of Incidents. (Plus print out)
5. Keep track of the amounts owed to Firefighters for
Incidents and Practices.
(Can be set for.. by the hour or ..by the Incident)
6. Keep maintenance Records on equipment.
7. Keep a calendar of appointments etc.
8. Keep track of training. (who has passed what and when)
9. Includes a dialer that can keep track of long distance and
or local calls.
and much more.....
Updates and the latest version of Fire Dispatch and
FireFighter can be found on my BBS.
The Shuswap Opus BBS
955-8174 24 hrs.
300 - 9600 Baud supported
Both Fire_Dispatch and FireFighter will be found in download
After logging on and arriving at the main menu, Press D and
you will automatically be in Area #7.
Press F to find the latest version of the program and go for
This board is free and open to all users
Enclosed with the program is the File ORDER.ME
Print out the file and mail to:
Lance R. Underwood
Box 112 Celista B.C
V0E 1L0 Canada