Nov 21 2007
The team upto 18th December 1991 relied entirely on a telephone cascade system to alert the membership to call outs and incidents.
On 18th December 1991 we moved to a ’tone’ only pager alert system, provided and initiated via Lancashire Constabulary.
On July 13th 1994 this ’tone’ only system was complemented by 5x full text messagepagers, purchased (on contract) by the team from Vodapage (now Vodafone) for use by our Call Out Contact Group. A further 5x messagepagers were brought into team service on February 8th 1995, and we operated both the full text messagepagers and ’tone’ only pagers together.
Due to the success of the messagepager service, the team abandoned the ’tone’ only pagers (which without the full text service had very obvious limitations in terms of making an appropriate fast response to pager alerts) on June 19th 1996.
On this day, June 19th 1996, the whole team membership adopted a full text messagepager service on contract from Vodapage. This had the immediate effect of considerably enhancing our call out response times, with the entire membership at one go being informed by a full text message(s) of the incident and the associated details. (For the record the very first ’Full Team’ call out utilising the messagepager system took place on Incident 21/1996, initiated at 04.32hrs on the morning of June 25th 1996.)
For the technically minded these first messagepagers were Vodapage Wordcall II Pagers. After the success of this type of pager system within the team, on 13th August 2001 we moved to the next generation of Vodapagers, the NEC11D wide display model, in later years being complemented by a small number of Bravo 800 Wordcall models, all still with what is now Vodafone.
This evening the entire team membership traded in their existing pagers, as the team moved on to the very latest generation of pagers, (the fourth pager system we have operated since 1991), with us now operating Vodafone Alpha Gold messagepagers and a Message Distribution System. Using pagers still provides the team with a very efficient and very fast way of contacting the entire team membership when our services are required and the MDS also allows those in poor reception areas to receive the message via SMS to their mobile phone or via email.
The team expresses its thanks to Team Equipment Officer (Communications and IT) Dave Healey for investigating whats out there in the marketplace, for conducting various trials and for handling the smooth changeover to a new type of pager.
Thanks are also expressed to Vodafone for their continued support of the team with favourable contract terms. Dave would also like to thank Niki Dardis at Vodapage Paging Admin for the excellent customer services contact in dealing with the change over and the little hi-cups which followed.
One thing that has not changed is that in order to keep overall team running expenses down, every team member pays in full, at their expense, the contract costs of their pager, which amounts to an annual personal cost to each member of £50.00 per annum. (This being on top of their annual subscription amount of £35.00 )
The team itself, pays the VAT at 17.5% element on each pager, despite us (
and other MRTs) lobbying HM Government to exempt VAT on Pagers (for emergency use, after all we save the government the cost of providing our service if we as volunteers didn’t exist)
If any company, organisation or individual out amongst our vast supporter base is interested in sponsoring the cost of maintaining our pager system and therefore reducing the financial outlay on our individual members then please contact the team.