1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Carter Lake, Iowa
    Posts
    54

    Default Should every member have a portable radio?

    I am on a small department in south west Iowa. We have 25 members and cover 2.2 sqaure miles. 22 of our 25 members live in town. Only officer's can respond to the scene and everybody else goes to the station. Our chief issued a HT 1000 portable radios to all the members . My idea was to mount chargers on the wall near the trucks if it's a fire call grab a radio on your way out the door because I dont think that all members need a radio assigned to them. But he wanted everybody to take a radio home with them even though the rules he laid out says that only officers will go enroute over the radio for all calls, EMT's /paramedics for medical, and divers for water rescue. The firefighters are not allowed to talk on the main dispatch channel only our fireground channel. I also think that there is more potential for these radios to be broken or stolen just lying around somebodys house or left in a POV. Does anybody else have an opinion on this.

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    We have 30+ Portable radios however we put them in chargers on the apparatus. There is enough portable radios for each SCBA on the truck. For the medical, utility, and brush trucks, there are two each. The end-result is the same, enough for everyone to have one on-scene. But in our case, keeping them charged on the apparatus is far more reliable.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,685

    Default

    we put them in chargers on the apparatus.
    Same deal here.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  4. #4
    Let's talk fire trucks!
    BoxAlarm187's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    3,326

    Default

    Only our Chief, Assistant Chief, and Senior Captain are issued radios. The rest are mounted in chargers on the vehicles.
    Career Fire Captain
    Volunteer Chief Officer


    Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    2,959

    Default

    Personally, I don't see a problem with this as long as your people have the requested radio discipline and you have the resources.

    My department (small career) issued us radios a year or two ago and we've had no problems that I'm aware of regarding inappropriate use, theft, damage or anything else and we're in a "higher than average" crime area.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    The success or failure of issuing them to personnel is definately based on how seriously they take it and how diciplined they are. It is HUGE responsibility.

    They need to remember to charge the battery at least once a week if they keep it in their gear or in their car. Once winter rolls around, expect that to be more like twice a week or more when it gets really cold. They absolutely have to keep up with this or the radios will be useless.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Lusby, MD
    Posts
    1,035

    Default

    We have portables mounted in the apparatus in chargers and issue them to Captains and above only. This seems to work OK.

    It would be nice to be able to issue everybody a portable, but out county limits the number that we can have. As a practical matter, since members are not allowed to respond to the scene (officers excepted), they have no need for their own radio. For us, the money is better spent somwhere else.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber
    WaterbryVTfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    547

    Default

    My department has issued radios to most of our interior qualified people. Some keep them on their gear most times, other bring them home (like myself). I have given mine to officers when they have forgotten theirs.
    "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."
    ********

    IACOJ

    ********

    "Criticism is prejudice made plausible."
    - H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

  9. #9
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Windsor, MA
    Posts
    237

    Default

    I would say, leave the radios at the station and distribute pagers to all the firefighters. That way you don't have radios with dead batteries or forgotten at home.

    Thats what my dept does. Officers and EMT's get radios, everybody else gets pagers. We have a portable radio in the cab of each engine and a bank charger of HT1000s in our rescue truck. Each engine also has a headset wired into the truck radio for the pump operator.

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    28

    Default

    My department, a small volunteer organization having 35 members and 106 sq. miles of area, issue a radio to line officers, engineers, and squad leaders (drivers for the utility vehicles). The rest of the membership is issued a pager. Each of our radios are also equipped with an 'identifier' that sounds each time the PTT is hit, thus reducing A LOT of the misuse of the radios. We're in the process now of installing radios on each piece of apparatus for everyone else to use while on emergency calls.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber
    dmleblanc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Not the end of the earth but I can see it from here...
    Posts
    2,318

    Default

    Well, I'm going to disagree with the majority of posters here and say that I think it's a good thing for all members to be issued their own radio. Of course, I'll admit that our department makeup is different than yours...although we have a similar number of members (around 30) we cover 75 square miles. Unlike your department, only a handful of members live near the station and can make the truck; many of them will respond POV to the scene out of necessity. Therefore, it's helpful for officers to know who is responding (or more importantly, how many are responding), so they can decide if they should call mutual aid for more manpower.


    Quote Originally Posted by carterlakecapt View Post
    . I also think that there is more potential for these radios to be broken or stolen just lying around somebodys house or left in a POV. .
    I haven't found this to be true. I find that when a member has his own radio, he tends to take better care of it than one he just "borrowed" from the station. We haven't really had a problem with it.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  12. #12
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    343

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc View Post
    Well, I'm going to disagree with the majority of posters here and say that I think it's a good thing for all members to be issued their own radio. Of course, I'll admit that our department makeup is different than yours...although we have a similar number of members (around 30) we cover 75 square miles. Unlike your department, only a handful of members live near the station and can make the truck; many of them will respond POV to the scene out of necessity. Therefore, it's helpful for officers to know who is responding (or more importantly, how many are responding), so they can decide if they should call mutual aid for more manpower.




    I haven't found this to be true. I find that when a member has his own radio, he tends to take better care of it than one he just "borrowed" from the station. We haven't really had a problem with it.

    I agree completely.

    Don't confuse the problem. If your members lack radio discipline, THAT is the problem, not the fact that they have been issued radios.

    Our policy is similar to the OPs. Officers direct to the scene at their discretion, EMT's direct on medical calls. All others to the station, and no need to tell dispatch you are on your way.

    HOWEVER, during times when dispatch is concerned about the likliehood or speed of a response (i.e., during the work day) they frequently issue an, "any unit" call to find out if people are responding. Our firefighters need to be able to respond when called.

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    WI
    Posts
    188

    Default

    With the exception of officers, our portables stay in the charger on the trucks until the incident. We had at one time allowed personnel to take a radio with them, that proved to be useless.

    We never had a problem with too much or inapropriate radio traffic. Our problem was that when a call came in, they didn't have the radio with them. It was at home in the charger. Didn't do us any good there. We took all of the radios and put 'em back on the truck.

  14. #14
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    497

    Default

    We are fortuneate. We have both radios for every riding position on the trucks and radio's issues to all FF's. We also are in the mode that many responders go straight to the scene rather than the station due to geography of our district.

    I think we all agree that everyone on the fireground needs to have a radio. How that happens really is up to the response and operations guidelines of the department in question. (as well as thier fiscal status - radio's are expensive)

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber
    ROOKIELZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,650

    Default

    All our firefighters have two way radios. They are kept in the hall. Members are to respond from the hall. Ocassionally, the Officers will take their radios home with them and we bring their gear on the apparatus with us.
    IACOJ
    If you are willing to teach;
    I am willing to learn.

  16. #16
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Carter Lake, Iowa
    Posts
    54

    Default

    Thanks for your guys opinions I do appreciate the ideas. We only have these radios because a large paid department that boarders us went to 800 and donated 28 HT1000 to us. Our old chief was the one who issued the radios to everybody and since we have a new chief I thought about bringing it up to him. I wouldnt have a problem with it but like most of the other posters have said usually when the call comes out the radios are at home in the charger and dont do us any good. We have not had any stolen or damaged as of yet except mine which was dropped in a bath tub full of water, although it seem like we are replacing alot of batteries. I dont know if they are just old or are left on the chargers too long.

  17. #17
    Forum Member
    ndvfdff33's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Winterpeg Manitoba
    Posts
    2,461

    Default

    I'd say keep them in the station. This way nobody will forget theirs, the radios will be constantly charged and there will be no need to worry about someone abusing having a radio.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

  18. #18
    Forum Member
    TNFF319's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Collierville, TN
    Posts
    628

    Default

    We give every member a radio. This cuts down the cost since we don't need to buy pagers. It also allows members to say they are responding to the station. This allows officers to know how many people they will have to work with. it also allows dispatch the ability to dispatch a second company if no one responds to the call. We make members sign an agreement that if they damage the radio they buy a new one. It works well for us.
    FF/Paramedic

  19. #19
    Piney Power
    PineyPower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Berkeley Township, New Jersey, United States
    Posts
    331

    Default

    No, not at all.
    Pinewald Pioneer Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 Sta. 20
    "Piney Power"

    Berkeley Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T./Haz-Mat/WMD/CBRNE) Station 85
    Berkeley Township, New Jersey 08721

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber
    dmleblanc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Not the end of the earth but I can see it from here...
    Posts
    2,318

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by carterlakecapt View Post
    usually when the call comes out the radios are at home in the charger and dont do us any good.
    They shouldn't be at home in the charger. Members should be charging them when they're at home and when they're out and about they should have their radio with them (at least in their vehicle). That's dependent on the discipline of your members. Are their pagers at home on the charger when a call comes in?

    although it seem like we are replacing alot of batteries. I dont know if they are just old or are left on the chargers too long.
    Very good chance they're being left on the charger too long. Yet another argument for issuing them to members, so they'll get charged and discharged on a regular basis. Our radios can scan all the local channels, so some members like to carry them so they can listen to neighboring fire departments, sheriff's office, etc. Consequently, the batteries get cycled regularly.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  21. #21
    MembersZone Subscriber
    mcaldwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Panorama, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    3,022

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Only our Chief, Assistant Chief, and Senior Captain are issued radios. The rest are mounted in chargers on the vehicles.
    Our Lt's also get them, but same deal. All on trucks, one per seat with spare batteries.

    We have found it more reliable and fewer radios show up to calls with weak or dead batteries.

    Some departments like to hear the responding personnel call in when en route, but if you say you have ruled that out, you are likely going to lose some expensive equipment over time.

    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  22. #22
    MembersZone Subscriber
    mcaldwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Panorama, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    3,022

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TNFF319 View Post
    We make members sign an agreement that if they damage the radio they buy a new one. It works well for us.
    FWIW, that practice is illegal in almost every state and province I am familiar with (which of course means I could be wrong in your particular case ).

    Most labour standards prohibit employers from charging employees with any loses not due to gross negligence or dishonesty (and many even include that). If the dept wants to issue them, it must be prepared to suffer the cost of replacement in the budget.

    The only way around that might be a lease agreement from the dept to the employee, but that would be a tricky thing to pull off legally.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  23. #23
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    here officers have radios and all others get pagers. We have 1 portable per riding position on our apparatus.
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  24. #24
    Forum Member
    HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    2,460

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mcaldwell View Post
    FWIW, that practice is illegal in almost every state and province I am familiar with (which of course means I could be wrong in your particular case ).
    happened to a friend of mine in NJ, now he has to replace a stolen $2,000 radio. so illegal or not, the practice is alive and well in NJ
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

  25. #25
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Our combination department is switching over to 800 and all vols (111 of us) are supposed to be getting portables from a grant. Dispatch will still be simulcasting on old VHF over pagers but we will only be able to hear radio traffic from the trucks on portables....but back to the point, I think portables are extremely useful in the hands of vols

    I've had an experience within the last year where a portable would have been very helpful:
    Got dispatched to heavy smoke in the area. While riding around investigating I finally found the source: a heavily involved home with nobody around to report it. The engine was about a mile away in another neighborhood...no way to contact them(no cell service), had to drive and find them to flag them down in the middle of the rd. costing valuable time.

    I do think that a vol. should earn the portable by attending so many hrs. of training or something similar before being turned loose with a portable. For my pager, I had to attend 3 consecutive weekly training meetings. Portables take much more responsibility so I believe that the vol. must be very well acquainted with the goings on of the dept. and fire service as a whole.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Portable radio help
    By LAT455 in forum Federal FIRE ACT Grants & Funding
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 03-09-2008, 08:16 PM
  2. Portable Radio help
    By localhero813 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-10-2008, 10:21 PM
  3. portable radio
    By flashover113 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-11-2003, 08:55 AM
  4. Portable Radio Designations
    By cfdjesmith in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 04-08-2003, 01:29 AM
  5. Portable Radio per Position?
    By LtDanCobbFD in forum Career/Paid Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 10-24-2002, 07:57 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register