We are constantly hearing radio traffic requesting additional TAC channels during working fire incidents. The original purpose of these channels was for communications with dispatch and to have an extra channel for operations in the event of a Mayday at the incident.
When an organization is dispatch to a first alarm, dispatch automatically holds the next two channels. When requesting an additional channel from dispatch, let them know what you want to do with the channel. The dispatcher will give you additional channels, keeping the TAC channel next to operations available.
Also remember when we move water supply to a separate channel, we must to be able to account for and communicate with units that are not 800 MHz capable. If communications have been provided for all units working in Operations, have Central County change the radio patch to the new desired channel. If water supply communications are anticipated to be minimal, they could have communications on the same channel as Command to Dispatch.
The most critical thing to remember on assigning TAC channels is to keep the Operations channel open for Operations, don’t clutter with non-essential fireground communications.