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  1. #1
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    Question Nextel Phones/2-ways in The Fire Service

    I was wondering who has used Nextel phones/2-way radio's in the fire service? Do you use them on fire scenes? Do they cut down on the unnessasary radio traffic? What benefits do you get from them on your department? I need to know what you guys think of them and how they have worked for you.

    I have used them for my personal use now for about 6 years. I love the 2-way direct connect feature on it.

    We also have them at the fire station for when we go on calls and for the duty personel that work during the day. The benefits we have found is that we are able to be intouch with our Chief/ Asst. Chief and his officers when we need them. We have not used them yet on a fire scene but I can see the benefits of haveing them there. You can give one to all the command officers and leave all the nessasary information for the fire ground radios.

    I would like to know if your department is currently in the process of getting Nextel or would like to get them in the future.

    I am a Nextel sales agent in Southeastern Michigan and need some info on what you guys/gals think. All the information would really help me out. I am looking for information from everybody not just the people here in Michigan.

    If you live here in Michigan and would like information for your department. You can reach me via email at : firefly2420@firehousemail.com .

    I would be more than happy to come out and explain all about our product. I can even send out or drop off the information. If you are interested email me with your information and I will get right back with you.

    Thanks in advance for all your information.

    Andrew J. LaPrise
    Lyon Communications

    Lyon Township Fire Department
    New Hudson, Michigan

    [ 01-11-2002: Message edited by: FIREFLY2420 ]



  2. #2
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    We have been using these units in our Arson Unit for about three years. We love them for routine stuff.

    DO NOT USE A NEXTEL IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION!

    1. It is not recorded and cannot be reviewed.

    2. Unless you go to the trouble of setting up talk groups, no outside people can monitor your transmissions.

    3. You are relying on someone else's technology and system in an emergency. This is a dangerous propostion. There are dead areas and they can turn off your service for non-payment (What? A municipal government not paying bills on a timely basis?)

    4. They are not 100% reliable and are probably less relaible than your current technology.

    If ytou want to get rid of unnecesary transmissions, adopt an SOP on radio use and teach the guys how to use the radios.

  3. #3
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    George,
    Thank you for your post. Every fire department should know that a nextel should never be used for emergency air traffic. The use of a Nextel on a fire ground would be for the Officers to communicate non-emergency air traffic. I would hope that all important information would be transmitted on the primary radio system. There is a lot of information on a fire scene that does not need to be transmitted over the primary radio system. You made a lot of good points. No cellular phone system is 100% reliable. The system is not recorded like most of the air traffic on a primary system. My question is, How many fire departments use a recorder on there radio system anyway? I know that here in Michigan alot of departments switch to a secondary/fireground channel when they are on a big incident or if there is alot of air traffic from other departments. This is to free up all the congestion on the radio. When they do switch over to a secondary/fireground channel the dispatcher cannot monitor any air traffic. Most secondary/fireground channels are for that purpose only.

    I need information from the guys that use the Nextel phones around the fire scenes. Tell me what you use them for around the station. All the information I get will make me that much better at selling to the fire service and providing to your needs.

    Thanks again,

    Andrew J LaPrise
    Lyon Communications

    Lyon Township Fire Department
    New Hudson, Michigan
    Andrew J. LaPrise

  4. #4
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    Our company has one in each truck and most of our firefighers have one. It is a good thing to use because you dont have to talk over the radio if you have a question.

  5. #5
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Nextel less than useless here.T.C.

  6. #6
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    Rescue 101,

    Why do you say that Nextel is less than useless in your area. Do they not have coverage in your area? Is your area rural or suburban? Thanks for your post.
    Andrew J. LaPrise

  7. #7
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    I have used the Nextel two-way system and I like it. We do not have it in our area. I can see the benefits of having them on the fire scene but a much more reliable and cheaper way to communicate other than your fireground frequency is the Motorola Talk-About radios. They are relatively cheap, easy to maintain (AA batteries), and you always have service. With the split channels you can group your men on a channel and IC can monitor all channels by scanning.

    I cannot elaborate on the Nextel system, but when/if they ever come to our area you can bet I will have one.
    Begin with the end in mind.

    Be safe out there!!

  8. #8
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    All of our officers and trustees have them. From simple things like fixing a light in the engine bay to letting the chief know to go to the scene immediately that someone else is going to the station to get the first engine out immediately. They are great. They've made things 10,000 times easier.

    Stay Safe

  9. #9
    Junior Member PFD147's Avatar
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    The department I am on issued nextels to the Chief,A/C,the Ambulace duty crews and the Fire duty crew. Several members on the department also have them for their jobs and for their personal use. Now that Nextel can cross-fleet we are able to give updates to the crews or just set up lunch. We use rig radios or portables for emergency traffic but if we are on our way to the station and we see smoke of fire showing we can tell the inbound chief or duty crew and they can relay over the radios to everyone else. It also comes in handy when we have non-bonified incidents so we don't have companies running hot to an accident that is really a breakdown. We like them and use them alot. Just my 2 pennies worth!

  10. #10
    Forum Member DaFAO's Avatar
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    If I could add to the discussion...

    I have a Nextel...Kinda happy with the service. Here's my qualm.

    Nextels, specifically the two-way operation, do interfere with several public safety frequencies in the UHF, trunked, and highband area. This is proven fact. The local PD here operates on UHF, and can I just say that about once a minute someone's two-way convo bleeds over. We even do it with our own phones.

    Nextel has been, I would say, only moderately helpful in working with groups like APCO and the IAFF in resolving this issue. Their rep stated as much at the APCO Annual Meeting in Seattle this past year. I would say their response is less motivated by a genuine interest to work with the problem and more about money. It's regrettable to think that most Nextel reps have little or no knowledge on the progress of this issue.

    The phones are good, but it's important to understand their limitations. And don't fool yourself into thinking that two-way = private. They're convient, but like anything else, they can always stand improvement.

    Any thoughts, FIREFLY?

    [ 01-12-2002: Message edited by: TruroFAO ]


  11. #11
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    A friend of mine works for a private ambulance company in the Detroit area. I believe they use Nextel's exclusively (no radios?). From what he tells me, they are quite happy with the way the things are working. They do mostly non-emergency transports.
    Be Safe
    GOD BLESS the U.S.A. and FDNY
    Dan

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber F52Westside's Avatar
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    Cool

    Our dept. is gearing up to put them in service in our dept. One for each Station (3) and one for the Boss and Training Officer. Most of our fulltime staff and some of our P.O.C.s have personal ones. I got mine when they were offering the Midwest 250 plan for $34.99. It has 1000 D.C., 250 cell with 500 nights and weekends. They come in handy.

    [ 01-12-2002: Message edited by: F52 Westside ]

    Stay Safe & Bring 'em Home!
    Eddie C.
    I.A.F.F. Local 3008

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    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and not that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

  13. #13
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    We added them about 18 months ago to all the officers and it really makes the day to day operations better because you can just buzz them up and ask whatever you need. Occassiolally used for talk around when we want to talk about non air worhty things ........we like 'em
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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  14. #14
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    My department uses the Nextel Phones, we have one per rig, plus the Chief officers have one as well. We primarily use them for B.S. traffic that we want to keep off the radio. The only bad thing I see with them is forgetting to turn them on, therefore making them quite useless.
    Oh pretty good...

  15. #15
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    Dont have coverage out here. Go about 15 miles or so down the road then we have some coverage. We mainly still have analog towers in our general vicinity. Digital coverage for the whole area is still a ways down the road.

    [ 01-12-2002: Message edited by: cmjones ]

    [ 01-12-2002: Message edited by: cmjones ]


  16. #16
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    We've had them at work for about 2 months. Even though we're a VERY large company, and deployed dozens of devices with potential for more, Nextel has been quite unresponsive as far as service, correcting service plans/features, training, etc.
    Service is spotty. When keying the direct connect feature, it can take a long time before hearing the tone that denotes that you can talk.
    That said, the calls are pretty clear.
    In the vol dept I run with, we use hiband radios that run forever. Neighboring cities have a trunked system that I think works much better as far as using a private channel, etc.

  17. #17
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    F52 Westside,

    Has your department contacted anybody in reguards to sales. Please contact me via email. I would like to know what department you are from. I am trying to work out a deal for municipalities. Thanks again.
    Andrew J. LaPrise

  18. #18
    Forum Member BCmdepas3280's Avatar
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    I work for Nextel, the product is a great little invention, with that being said here is my sale pitch to fire dept and police dept that are in my sales area. These cell phones and they are cell phones are a great addition to your bag of tricks. they can be used for haz-mat because we sell intrinsiclly safe phone models ,they can be used when you want a secure line and they have some value when a mutial aid dept doesn't have the same radio freq has you but they have a phone. These phones do have some limitation, coverage is one of those that would have to be considered, but a good salemen wouldn't try to sell one of these if the coverage was not there, if you were insterested in the phones ask the sale rep to use the phones for a week or two. If you have the coverage then these phones are the cats *** but that just my opinion
    IACOJ Membership 2002
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  19. #19
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    mdepas3280,

    Since you work for Nextel maybe you can help me out and give me some pointers. Being new at this and all I could use all the help I can get. Are you a salesman? E-mail me using the link on my posting. If it does not work you can e-mail me at firefly2420@firehousemail.com .
    Andrew J. LaPrise

  20. #20
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    I VOLUNTEER IN BUCKS COUNTY PA, 2 YEARS AGO OUR COUNTY BEGAN THE SWITCH TO MOTOROLA DIGITAL RADIOS. EVEN THOUGH WE DO NOT USE NEXTELS FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES USE, I CAN TELL YOU THAT NEXTELS ARE MADE BY THE SAME MANUFACTURER AS OUR LATEST AND GREASTEST RADIO SYSTEM, AND THAT NEXTEL SYSTEM IS ALOT MORE RELIABLE THAN OUR COUNTY RADIO SYSTEM. I GUESS MOTOROLA PUTS MORE EFFORT INTO SOMETHING THEY WANT TO SELL TOMORROW RATHER THAN SOMETHING THEY CAN ONLY SELL TO A WHOLE COUNTY ABOUT ONCE EVERY TEN OR SO YEARS.
    "2 IN, 2 OUT, ALWAYS!!!"

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