Thread: Thoughts on Portable Radios
01-07-2001, 02:39 PM #1TowerLadders ForeverFirehouse.com Guest
Thoughts on Portable Radios
After reading another thread in this forum(see protective hoods) it got me to thinking about communications on the fire ground. How do most feel about all members having radios or at least all positions on the truck having radios as opposed to each member being issued a radio. To me it would be the best situation. In my vol. dept. only the officers have radios,which they keep them personally with them, so if they don't respond to an alarm we don't have a portable radio and there have been many times when all were unavailable to respond, so left without any radios. My thoughts are more for safety and being more aware of what is going on, on the fire scene,hearing what everyone else is doing,so as not to prematurely vent or open a nozzle when it should not be done. Interested on everyone's thoughts?
01-07-2001, 03:41 PM #2BucksEng91Firehouse.com Guest
Wow! Your company officers take their radios with them, so if they're not there, you're short a portable??
No disrespect intended towards your department, but how stupid can you get? At least put all the portables on the apparatus, and keep them there. That way, when the LT doesn't show up, whoever is "riding the seat" will have a portable....sheesh!
I hope the rest of your department's SOPs are more thought out than *that* one!
Take care, and stay safe!
The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated.
01-07-2001, 03:44 PM #3ffnbsFirehouse.com Guest
Your department should keep the portables mounted on the apparatus. Obviously if the apparatus is on scene you or whomever as a member of the attack team can have a means of communication, which in my opinion is vital. On my department, though we are small, each firefighter is issued their own prep.
01-07-2001, 04:41 PM #4LooperFirehouse.com Guest
We have 2-3 portables on each apparatus. Each officer (& some FF) have a radio, either hand held or mounted in thier POV.
The only problem we've run into with having the portables on the truck is making sure that the first crew doesn't take all of the radios with them. We've had incidents where a crew was formed, from personnel arriving by POV, and they then had run all over trying to find a truck that still had a radio on it.
[This message has been edited by Looper (edited 01-07-2001).]
01-07-2001, 05:29 PM #5TowerLadders ForeverFirehouse.com Guest
Great to read everyone's thoughts, to be totally honest I don't know of any dept in my area that keeps portables in their rigs. That sounds like a great idea, but then how would the officers be able walk around town without having portables to look cool. LOL I realize that chief officers should always have their own portable. My goal is that all members be issued a portable much like Pass alarms.
01-07-2001, 05:50 PM #6RescueJayFirehouse.com Guest
In my volly dept. all the officers are issued radios that they keep with them. This is ok when they are in town and respond to all calls.We also have 2 radios in the apparatus. It is my opinion that all officers when in town should have them as well as chief officers. There should also be 2-4 on all apparatus.
01-07-2001, 07:23 PM #7firecadetakFirehouse.com Guest
In my department, all of our officers carry portable radios, along with some of our engineers, and then one to two portables on each piece of apparatus. We have approx. 45 career and 100+ volunteers so it would be quite expensive to supply portables and chargers to everybody
[This message has been edited by firecadetak (edited 01-21-2001).]
01-07-2001, 07:54 PM #8BucksEng91Firehouse.com Guest
Look, not to beat this to death, and I'm just playing devil's advocate here, but the practice of giving company-level officers their own portables, while the apparatus has none, is going to get someone hurt or killed.
I liked the post about "...being able to walk around town and look cool..." with a portable. Alright, we're all "wackers" to one degree or another, but unless as a company officer you're willing to run every single call, your silly attempt at coolness is going to have serious consequences when your engine company pulls up first in at a working fire, and sends people inside without portables.
The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated.
01-07-2001, 09:46 PM #9cmjonesFirehouse.com Guest
At my vol. fire department, all personnel get portable radios. The officers get mobiles for their POV's also if we have extras to give out.
01-07-2001, 09:49 PM #10rumlfireFirehouse.com Guest
We are also guilty of having our officers carry portables. I guess somebody thought it was a good idea to have the officers carry radios instead of pagers. But I have to agree with everybody else in saying that they belong in the station or on the trucks. They do not help anyone when they are sitting at home in the charger instead of at an incident.
01-07-2001, 10:08 PM #11BayRidge60Firehouse.com Guest
My department is a small volunteer company, only 48 members. We have 1 Chief, 4 Assistants, and 2 Captains. Each line officer is issued a portable radio. Each piece of apparatus has at least 2 spare portables mounted on it. This system has worked very well for us, and is the system used in many companies in my area.
Bay Ridge Fire-Rescue
01-07-2001, 10:08 PM #12hanger44Firehouse.com Guest
Our dept. allows our officers to carry personal portables on them. We also leave three on our pump and one in our rescue. This allows the officer to communicate while responding to the hall (or scene), or to the dispatch when not in station. We are also used by our neighbours to the east to supply air. Therefore we need to be able to communicate with them. If your officers only need them to "look cool", then they must have no other worries.
01-07-2001, 10:29 PM #13Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
Our officers have assigned UHF portable radios, and low band Mobiles. The officers all respond direct to scene for medicals, and most respond direct to scene for fire calls. For the most part, the radios live in their POVs, and they carry regular and/or alpha-numeric pagers with them.
All our apparatus have at least one portable -- the Rescue and Ladder 2, and the main attack Engine-Tank carries 5. Adding a few more each year, so eventually we'll be at the point of one SCBA, one Portable.
01-08-2001, 08:22 AM #14WTFDFF10Firehouse.com Guest
Our officers are the only ones that are issued radios. Each of our rigs has at least one portable.
Does your dept. issue pagers to each member? If the pagers are set to "monitor" at least each member can hear what's going on, they just won't be able to talk back.
Either way, it seems like each interior crew should have at least one radio for operational as well as safety reasons.
01-08-2001, 11:26 AM #15Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
I personally think anyone operating inside the fire building should have the ability to communicate outside. Where I work everyone carries a radio. My volunteer company carries 3 on the engines (enough for 2 crews and the driver to get them), 5 on the truck (one for each riding position) and 3 on the rescue (3 crews). We keep portables in the command vehicles for the chief or duty officers use.
01-08-2001, 12:07 PM #169C7Firehouse.com Guest
Our officers also carry portables. But each officer (and career FFs) are issued their own radios. There are at least one--if not two- portables in each apparatus.
You asked for my opinion, now you have it. Any similarity to another opinion, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
01-08-2001, 02:13 PM #17MFFJoeFirehouse.com Guest
We are a combination paid/vol. dept. Each engine, ladder, rescue company and ambulance has a portable for each person assigned. CO's scan Dispatch and talkaround frequencies on working incidents and FF's stay on talkaround (unless an emergency, mayday, etc.). Supervisors (BC's, staff, etc.) have their own assigned portables.
01-08-2001, 03:05 PM #18HHoffmanFirehouse.com Guest
You may want to check, but I think the OSHA regulations state the crews inside need to be in contact with the IC. Each crew of two should have one portable radio.
My department has one portable for eack man on the shift. We hand it off to the members of the next shift in the morning. We also have a few spares.
Henry C. Hoffman Jr.
01-09-2001, 10:16 AM #19Ohiofiremed57Firehouse.com Guest
HHoffman...I would like to know that OSHA standard that you are refering to.
On the dept that I am on the Chief strongly discourages any members other than officers to cary, use, or even look at a portable radio. YES... even an interior crew. Many times I have been on the initial attack crew w/out an officer and have had to back-out to advise other crews of changing conditions. I find this rather disturbing, as well as it makes me question my safety and that of others. I have purchased my own personal prep. and I was told by my Chief that if I was "caught" using it, I would be terminated. Kinda makes ya wonder huh... I need some hard facts, stats or something to sway this idiotic way of thinking.
The few, the proud, the INSANE!
01-09-2001, 01:53 PM #20FireloverFirehouse.com Guest
In our department, our permanent guys have a radio, but all of the vehicle have their own.... I think this is a good way to keep an eye on where your portables is going.
If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!
01-21-2001, 01:12 PM #21RFD220Firehouse.com Guest
In our department Officers,EMT's, and some daytime drivers are either issued or purchase their own portables. I for one have a sabre,Visar and Kenwood for the car but before you all go calling me a "radio ricky" let me explain.
The Kenwood is a dual band so that I may monitor either two fire freqs (dispatch for updates and command for onscene activity) or a fire freq and an EMS freq. It is mounted in my vehicle and purchased by me.
Next are the visar and saber. The visar is used when I am involved in command operations and the saber for interior operations. Both were also purchased by me. This leaves radios on the rigs for the interior teams who really need them. We carry two on each first line rig and 1 on the second lines. Our heavy rescue also has 5 or so in case other crews are operating (sectors) or we can give a radio or two to mutual aid departments who may not share frequencies we use. To say that interior crews should not get a radio is shocking (ohiofiremed57's chief). This Chief obviously must have forgotten what it was like to be inside a house heavily charged with fire trying to get your pump operator to jack up the pressure on the handline. Hopefully his ignorance is limited to communications and not the remainder of firefighting operations. Maybe he should be given a kick out the door in the next elections!
*Opinions are mine and not necessarily shared by any orginizations I may be involved with*
Jeffrey D. Grey-Captain
Roosevelt Fire District-Hyde Park,N.Y.
[This message has been edited by RFD220 (edited 01-21-2001).]
01-21-2001, 10:30 PM #22TCFireFirehouse.com Guest
OSHA will hang you from the nearest hose tower if you ever lose someone or get someone seriously hurt and they were inside without a radio! I don't know the reg but communications is definitely a key. It may not specifically say a 'radio' but if not, then you have to be within sight or speaking range and with SCBA how far can you talk so that someone can understand you? 3 feet? It's almost impossible to hear your partner on an attack line without repeating yourself at least twice and using hand signals to make yourself understood!
I would think very seriously about whether I was going inside someplace without having any means of communicating with the outside. That's a great way to get burned when somebody lets go from outside and pushes fire, heat, water, and steam back in your face! Especially, god forbid, with a bigger stream than you're carrying and aside from all the other bad things that can happen inside. I'd also have a serious problem with an officer that asked me to go inside without a radio...unless it was a life or death/'we gotta go now' rescue attempt.
Stay smart and safe!
01-21-2001, 11:49 PM #23eng10drvrFirehouse.com Guest
We have 3 portables to a fire supression unit,1 on each EMS unit. And all Chiefs are issued a portable.
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