Jump to content

Fire Department GPS suggestions


Recommended Posts

We put $1200 in our 2012 budget to get some GPS units for our fire / rescue department. We have a good number of trails in our district (including GA's second highest mountain). We usually get paged out for 3 or 4 trail searches every year. We have a mix of hydrants and water sites. We are starting to get ready for our ISO inspection. We roll out of our district about once a month to help a neighboring department. Every 5 years or so we also get clobbered with some weather event. We have had everything from blizzards, to hurricane remiants, to high winds.


Our primary use would be ...

  • Hydrant locations
  • Water site locations
  • Wildland fire operations
  • LZ locations
  • Trail searches
  • Area searches
  • Road directions when responding to our mutual aid neighbors
  • Disaster operations


I'm looking for some recommendations. I've read that Delorme Xmap has a specific SAR component.I have a Garmin 60cs that works well for my needs. The county SAR team has Garmin 62csx units. I've never used a Delorme. But, I don't want to eliminate something just because I haven't used it. I'm most familiar with the Garmin units. So, I probably have a bias. Any suggestions are welcome.


PS - If anyone has any suggestions on getting a discount, I'm interested too. We are a 501-c-3 non-profit. It never hurts to ask!

Link to comment

Mark, am only familiar with my Garmins, Nuvi, E-Trex and GPS60CSx. I cannot acvise to the different features.


A couple years ago, for a new pastor I plotted church members on Google Earth, and entered the coords into a separate database in GSAK. Also added a couple points that could be needed but were not in the Nuvi database. This allows me to transfer them to an SD card for the road based units, and into the handheld units when I wish. I have not experimented with changing icons on the Nuvi, but when downloading into the handheld I can assign different icons to each feature. Time consuming, yes. But it got the job done.

Link to comment

As a 15 year+ member of the Lafayette County Fire Dept ,Search and Rescue,and now the USAR Team i will pass on my thoughts.


We still issue personnel the Garmin 60csx units to use when on assignment.In conjunction we use hardcopy topo mapsets (flipbook) made by the state and Mapsource and MARIS mapping software on the laptop computers. Any of the higher sensitivity (3 axis) units should be ok as long as it can be setup to be used on the US National Grid system which is the current standard for such operations and complies to FEMA standards.

Most modern units are completely sealed so they should be intrinsically safe ;can be used around ruptured gas lines and such .


We havent upgraded to the 62 series but i'm sure they are just as reliable and i feel you have made a smart bid/purchase.


*edit* I did forget one thing worth mentioning. The 60csx has small (and close) pushbuttons. It's an annoyance with any kind of gloved hand.Most of us pull our gloves off to mark and describe a waypoint.

Edited by SniperChicken
Link to comment

Could I suggest the Garmin rhino series? These units are comparable to the 60/62 series but also have radios built in, some with 14 mile range. Some also can send you GPS location to similar units for theirnavigation to your spot. This sounds perfect for what you are doing.


I will compile more details with links later as I am on my phone right now. But I think you should look into and consider this series of GPS.

Link to comment

To get a discount, get other FDs on board for purchasing any equipment. Our volunteer fire department has linked up with others in the area. Probably best to have only one or two folks from each firehall do


Having said that, when you decide which units are right for you, contact the manufacturer directly to ask for a discount. The worse they can say is no.

Good luck!

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...