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IPN 101

Welcome to IPN 101, the page to help you make more effective pages to the Incident Paging Network. If you have no clue as to what IPN is, Just go to their homepage at www.incidentpage.net.

Rule #1: Keep your pages short. Pack as much info as you can into 80 characters. Many paging companies don't allow alpha pages of more than 80 characters, and those characters over 80 are truncated (discarded). Airtouch/Verizon/whateverthey'recallingthemselvestoday is one, and also the service that I have been using. Also many PCS phones are restricted to the same limit, as well as being charged for the number of characters sent to the phone.

Rule #2: DON'T USE ALL CAPS. Just as in e-mail and on newsgroups, sending a page to IPN with all caps is hard to read. Unless you're using a computer that doesn't let you type in both upper and lower case, there's no excuse.

Rule #3: Give the city or township. Many of the IPN areas are REALLY broad, and list only the county that you dispatch to. Give the city that the incident is taking place in right up front in the page, so that recipients have a clue as to if they can hear the incident on their scanners, or if it's on the other end of the county, blocked by a mountain.

Rule #4: Use abbreviations whenever possible. This goes back to squeezing as much info as possible into a page. For example: A structure fire in a 2 story single-family dwelling with extension to the attic would be: Str. fire-2ST SFD-xtnsn to rf. A bank robbery at the Bank of America, where the 3 Black male adult suspects were last seen leaving northbound on the 101 in a gray Chevrolet Astro van with a license plate number of 4SAM123 would be: 211 Bank@BofA- 3BMA susp. l/s NB US101 Gry Chv Astro 4SAM123.

Rule #5: Use code numbers. In California, everything has a Penal Code section that's short and easy to use: 187 for murder, 211 for armed robbery, 240/242 for assault/battery, etc. Use the code section numbers for your area. Of course, it's easier (and shorter) to send DUI than 23152, the Vehicle Code for driving under the influence.

Abbreviation list: This list will be really huge, and probably differ from area to area, but many abbreviations/acronyms can be common across the country. IPN has a good listing now on their site, accessable from the dispatchers' page.

The IPN mailing lists at YahooGroups: This is a good resource to give updates that are longer than what you can put out onto the IPN system, plus you'll get plenty of advice form the list members as to how to page, what to page, and when to page.