1. #1
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    Default Portable Radio Procedures

    Does anyone out there have portable radios that are assigned to each individual? If so, do you have procedures that direct how the radios are assigned, where they are stored, etc. Looking for information on what you do with the radios while you are off duty. The easy answer is that they stay at the station, but for our guys who travel, that doesn't seem reasonable. Trying to come up with a good solution. Appreciate any input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Not2L84U2 View Post
    Does anyone out there have portable radios that are assigned to each individual? If so, do you have procedures that direct how the radios are assigned, where they are stored, etc. Looking for information on what you do with the radios while you are off duty. The easy answer is that they stay at the station, but for our guys who travel, that doesn't seem reasonable. Trying to come up with a good solution. Appreciate any input.
    Each of our career personnel are assign a portable radio that stays with their gear. We don't have a travel issue, but one might assume that if the radio is assigned as part of your PPE, it would be treated the same. We also have banks of chargers (one per radio) so a spare is always at the ready.

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    All of our members are issued an individual pager, portable radio and chargers for both.

    They are assigned to the member the same as any other department supplied gear. IE turnouts BBP hi -vis parkas or the EMS folks all are issued a jump bag, O2 kit and an AED as part of their personal gear.
    They are required to keep it with them and to be responsible for it. We do a check annually to make sure all gear is in serviceable condition.

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    Individual portables? We wish.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Each member of our department is issued a portable radio and leather radio strap after their six months probation is up. Each portable radio is assigned a portable number, and when a member receives that radio they take on that number.

    Also each truck equipped with a pump has its own portable with a headset so the operator can hear important radio transitions he needs too.

    EDIT - And oh yeah almost forgot to mention, all the portables remain at the station with the members gear UNLESS the chief gives them the go ahead to carry it in their POV.
    Opinions expressed by myself here are just that, mine. And not that of ANY organization or service I am affiliated with.

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    Cool Issued Radios

    All of our Captains are issued H.Ts. There are numerous ways that we keep our Radios; I keep mine in my locker, another Captain keeps his in our bedroom in the armoire, another keeps his in his turnouts, another in his bedroom in a drawer and another keeps his in the charger in the office.

    We do not have or really need an SOP to tell us how/where to store our Radios. The only thing that it should say is (in my honest opinion): General care/use, maintenance, replacement procedure and emergency procedures (what to call; mayday, emergency traffic or what).

    Just like turnouts..... Issue the gear, give them the knowledge and info needed, prepare to replace it as soon as it is issued and then let them take care of it.
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

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    Each riding position has a portable assigned. The radio is mounted and stays on the apparatus. Officers have a radio assigned to them.

    We felt it would limit open mics, phantom key ups and was more economical.

    This way they are always charged, checked by the apparatus engineers and it was a lot cheaper.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    The only department members who have a personal portable radios are chief officers and members of specialty teams, where they may need to be assembled when off duty. All the aforementioned members also carry alphanumeric pagers, to be alerted through, so they need not carry their portables on their person everywhere.

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    Our dept. issues every member a portable UHF radio after thier year of probation. all officers are also issued a POS 800 megahertz portable. which we are also responsible to carry with us at all times, and the 800 has terrible reception and transmission and have a cost of approx 5000 dollars A PIECE!! oh and we also all carry a pager.

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    We are an all career department and we already have enough funding and have purchased enough radios for every member. Now that they are almost here there is question arising as to what to do with them and where they are to be kept when off duty. Some people don't want to have the responsibility of having them issued to them. Others fear that some members may forget their radios or loose them. I think these are all chances we take, but the benefit of having a radio for each members should far out weight the risk. Just trying to find if there are other departments that are doing the same thing and if they have procedures to address such instances.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN
    Each riding position has a portable assigned. The radio is mounted and stays on the apparatus. Officers have a radio assigned to them.

    We felt it would limit open mics, phantom key ups and was more economical.

    This way they are always charged, checked by the apparatus engineers and it was a lot cheaper.
    Our Dept is the same way, each seat has its assigned portable. Officer portables as well are assigned to the seat, and not the person. Reason first is because of cost, second is for who is responsible for that portable and battery condition, and third for phantom/open mics.

    I have one, and unless I'm on the road, it stays locked in my box.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    We log the serial numbers when we issue them out. That's what they're there for.

    Simple rules: don't get them wet, don't keep liquids near them. Remember to completely discharge the battery before recharging AT LEAST once a month to prevent "memory". And if you happen to be responding to a scene on a demolitions or blasting site, PLEASE be aware of minimum safe distances. Radio transmitters can set off the blasting caps. For handhelds, which are usually about 5-6 watts, the minimum safe distance is 100 feet. For mobile, i.e. vehicle radios, which are usually 50 watts, the minimum safe distance is 200 feet. Again, these are MINIMUMS. When in doubt, turn it off.

    Also, avoid damaging the plate that the FCC puts on the radio. This is usually a painted metal decal under the battery. The FCC can, if they wanted to, fine the individual and/or the agency for damaging that plate.

    Anything else, let me know!

    KJ4VKC

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    I was involved with fielding a new radio system to a career staffed department. Every member got a radio, and there were sufficient chargers to hold every radio from a given shift. There were also enough spare batteries that about half the shift could simply swap their battery out. This worked because the radios were all from the same vendor and all used the same battery - a key point.

    It also meant that if they were out (and thus the portable on) a lot during a shift, they could "renew" and still use the radio. The batteries were 90% charged in about two hours.

    Since it was a P25 system, each radio was identified on the system by its assigned user, so there was no swapping going on.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    We operate similar to ChiefKN, except we were not able to afford radios for every riding position. Each engine and the Squad has a radio for the officer and 2 radios for those in the back. Other apparatus have 1 portable. We also issue portables for officers Captain or above.

    The officers that are assigned radios are responsible for keeping batteries charged, etc. The radios in the apparatus stay in the chargers and are checked during vehicle check-offs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonedOut1985 View Post
    We log the serial numbers when we issue them out. That's what they're there for.

    Simple rules: don't get them wet, don't keep liquids near them. Remember to completely discharge the battery before recharging AT LEAST once a month to prevent "memory". And if you happen to be responding to a scene on a demolitions or blasting site, PLEASE be aware of minimum safe distances. Radio transmitters can set off the blasting caps. For handhelds, which are usually about 5-6 watts, the minimum safe distance is 100 feet. For mobile, i.e. vehicle radios, which are usually 50 watts, the minimum safe distance is 200 feet. Again, these are MINIMUMS. When in doubt, turn it off.

    Also, avoid damaging the plate that the FCC puts on the radio. This is usually a painted metal decal under the battery. The FCC can, if they wanted to, fine the individual and/or the agency for damaging that plate.

    Anything else, let me know!

    KJ4VKC

    OMG....

    1. Batteries. On the older Nicad batteries, there was a school of thought that said you should drain down the batteries once a month, there also was a school of thought that led to an electrical reversal of one of the cells in the battery. Best to use a conditioner. On the batteries most often used on professional radios now, lithium ion etc, it is not needed, and can lead to premature death of the battery. Any bulk use of two way radios should include battery conditioners

    2. Blasting. Yes, it might be possible, if the moon is in perfect alignment with Jupiter and Mars, you hold your tongue right, and if the user is standing on one foot, for a radio to set off a blasting cap - and you would have to be close enough. I can't remember seeing it happen once in the past 30 years. It is still a slim possibility however, so I question where you got your range information from?

    3. The radio ID plate. Wow. Can you name one instance where this has been an FCC issue on a type certified or authorized piece of equipment? It is required to be there during the sale, but 10 years down the road no.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    OMG....

    1. Batteries. On the older Nicad batteries, there was a school of thought that said you should drain down the batteries once a month, there also was a school of thought that led to an electrical reversal of one of the cells in the battery. Best to use a conditioner. On the batteries most often used on professional radios now, lithium ion etc, it is not needed, and can lead to premature death of the battery. Any bulk use of two way radios should include battery conditioners

    2. Blasting. Yes, it might be possible, if the moon is in perfect alignment with Jupiter and Mars, you hold your tongue right, and if the user is standing on one foot, for a radio to set off a blasting cap - and you would have to be close enough. I can't remember seeing it happen once in the past 30 years. It is still a slim possibility however, so I question where you got your range information from?

    3. The radio ID plate. Wow. Can you name one instance where this has been an FCC issue on a type certified or authorized piece of equipment? It is required to be there during the sale, but 10 years down the road no.
    I got the table from the SCHP Operations Manual under it's radio section.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonedOut1985 View Post
    We log the serial numbers when we issue them out. That's what they're there for.

    Simple rules: don't get them wet, don't keep liquids near them.
    KJ4VKC
    If you buy a decent radio you don;t need to worry about getting them wet, We are in the business of spraying water on things after all.

    Ours are submersible to 1 meter for three hours without any effect.

    When they demonstrated them to us they had several sitting in a fish tank on the table full of water. They'd reach in and pull one out to show us the features then drop it back in and grab another one to continue with the demonstration.
    It all depends on the Rating from the manufacturer, most of the BIG boys are only rated for occasional spray or mist.

    LV knows which radio I'm talking about ! :-}

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    For us, everyone is issued a radio, spare battery, case and a charger. Most of the paid staff leave their radio at the station. A couple of guys put their radio in their locker the rest leave them in their gear. For the volunteer side they all have their radio at home or carry it with them in their car. The department pays for all repairs unless you do something really stupid to destroy the radio.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Not2L84U2 View Post
    We are an all career department and we already have enough funding and have purchased enough radios for every member. Now that they are almost here there is question arising as to what to do with them and where they are to be kept when off duty. Some people don't want to have the responsibility of having them issued to them. Others fear that some members may forget their radios or loose them. I think these are all chances we take, but the benefit of having a radio for each members should far out weight the risk. Just trying to find if there are other departments that are doing the same thing and if they have procedures to address such instances.
    We are an all career department also and have had individually assigned radios for a couple of years now. We have no policy. Instead we have chosen (whether consciously or unconsciously) to treat our personnel like adults regarding all individually issued equipment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    Instead we have chosen (whether consciously or unconsciously) to treat our personnel like adults regarding all individually issued equipment.
    These are firefighters, right? What a brave move!

    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    We just switched from having radios for each seat on the truck to individually assigned since a lot of the time members riding had assigned radios anyways and it helped to outfit new members with radios without having to buy a lot of new ones. Each radio has an identifier that is the personells unit number. has the serial number recorded and they are responsible for them. I think almost all our members if not all take theirs home and have chargers there. I would try the responsible for their own and if that does not work then require that they stay at the station. The only issue with everything at the station is keeping them charged but if you have enough outlets and chargers you should be okay.

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    Our Dept is the same way, each seat has its assigned portable. Officer portables as well are assigned to the seat, and not the person.

    Same here. HQ staff are assigned their own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonedOut1985 View Post
    Remember to completely discharge the battery before recharging AT LEAST once a month to prevent "memory".
    Myth. This has never been practically true for the radios in use in the fire service and more NiCads were killed in trying to avoid memory by reversing the cells in deep discharge than EVER saw memory effect.

    Modern radios with their computer charging and NiMH or LiOn packs not only don't have memory effect but the batteries circuit will preclude any memory or excessively deep discharging.

    You should be able to just drop the thing in the charger without worrying about it.

    [Used to do battery research in the 70's with NiCads.]

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    In my Department, everyone has a pager and a radio issued to them along with a charger for both items. Most of us keep our pagers on us at all times. How we carry our radios' varies a bit. I keep my radio with me throughout the day. usually it lives in my gear bag when I'm not using it and is kept in my car unless it is very hot in the summer or if I leave my car for more then half an hour or so during the winter so the Battery doesn't freeze or get so cold there isn't a usable charge.

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    Most people are issued a pager and charger and expected to keep them charged. Captains and above are issued radios. They are expected to keep them charged. I keep mine in my vehicle most of the time and swap out batteries every so often.

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