Thread: Portable Radios

  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    LaCrosse, WI
    Posts
    16

    Question Portable Radios

    I am a member of a career FD that currently does not allow everyone to carry a portable radio. Here is the kicker though, we have extras at each station sitting in the chargers. I am gathering some information to support our need to have these radios for safety reasons and am wondering if anyone has any documentation to share. I have already read some of the NIOSH reports and pulled some info from there. Just wondering what else there might be.


    Stay Safe
    Lance Tryggestad

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    All our Officers have radios and assigned numbers, each rig has at least 2 portables on it. We dont allow every member a portable radio, as there is really no need for it.
    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

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    1,744

    Default

    There is a FEMA/USFA document that stresses each firefighter, or team of firefighters should have a portable radio assigned to them/it. If I find it I'll post it. One of the keys to many policies about this is insuring that the radios are used for emergency purposes, avoiding every member with a radio from talking non-stop about everything.

    Contact Providence, RI..they have a very good policy about radios and radio use that covers what you are talking about.

    Dave

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    Here, we have set the trucks up so there is a portable for each air pack plus the driver. No one goes interior without a portable radio. This does NOT mean that everyone interior has to use it. This is the important part. Only one person on each team needs to talk to command, usually an officer, whatever. Everyone has them so if you get lost or fall through a floor you can call for help. People need to get this "We've always done it this way" mentality out of their thick skulls. Just because you have a radio doesn't mean you have to use it. You have it for when you NEED it. Stress that point when training on them and it won't be a problem.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    127

    Default

    1 per team. 1 on each firefighter equals lots of feedback, and having one per team promotes accountability and discourages freelancing.

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

    Default

    Originally posted by Pride373
    1 per team. 1 on each firefighter equals lots of feedback, and having one per team promotes accountability and discourages freelancing.
    Umm. Right.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    145

    Default

    Our Dept Chiefs,1st and 2nd D/C,Capts,Lt's,Safetys and Constables All Have Portables With Them At All Times...We're Vollie By The Way...Plus We Got About 20 More Portables At The Hall For All Interior Crews,Operators etc..

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    736

    Default

    My Dept. is all volunteer. So all the chiefs (3) have radios and all the captains (4) have radios. Our engines have 2 radios on them. Usually only one gets taken off by a lieutenant (sp?). As for our truck company we have 6 portable radios. The officer and driver each get one. The roof man gets one and the OV gets one. Sometimes the Irons and Can man will take one but not all the time because they are usually with the officer. I always take a radio no matter what my position may be. However like some have already mentioned it does not have to be used. I very rarely use my radio. But it is very important to listen to what is going on. For example you (as a truckie) want to know if the engine is having trouble getting water, u don't want to start venting if they don't have water (obviously). Plus if your are a roof man or an OV you want to be able to report certain conditions to the IC or your officer. Unfortunately as an all volly company some times exceptions are made and you may not have an OV or a Can man. But as a guide line that is what we prefer to do. And as guys arrive at the scene we send them were the are needed. For example we might send an extra man to the roof.

  9. #9
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    1,744

    Default

    Originally posted by Pride373
    1 per team. 1 on each firefighter equals lots of feedback, and having one per team promotes accountability and discourages freelancing.
    1 per team should be the minimum standard. Feedback can be addressed as with freelancing. What happens when your the one without and you get separated?

    Still searching for the FEMA report....

    An Good Paper from the FEMA site
    Last edited by hfd66truck; 02-14-2004 at 08:17 AM.

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    Fire40man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Northwood, OH
    Posts
    152

    Default

    At the very least 1 radio per every 2 firefighters. A radio in everyones pocket could cause feedback, lots of chatter, but that is what training is for. We currently do not have enought radios for all firefighters, just the Chiefs have them. Some people have bought there own, which is ok if approved. All just need good training on proper use.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber
    CrossBro1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    187

    Default

    In my department everyone on the truck has a radio.
    We dont allow every member a portable radio, as there is really no need for it.
    Anyone else see a problem with this? If you are inside you should have a radio! What happens if you get trapped, separated, etc. To say there is no need for everyone to have a radio is dangerous!

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    "Hundreds of years of tradition uninhibited by progrss"

    This quote was told to us the first day of my FF-I Class. It is perhaps the most true statement one can find regarding the fire service and technology. Saying there is "no need" for portable radios is a prime example.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  13. #13
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    116

    Default

    Every member in our department has a radio. We are an all-volunteer department and instead of buying a $500.00 radio and a $350.00 pager we purchase radios that have the paging module built in. Also, because we are all volunteer our members will sign on enroute so that our dispatch will know someone is responding. If no one signs on they begin toning mutual aid stations out. We have strict guidelines as to who actually "signs on" enroute to calls, etc. We have told our members that 2-3 people should sign on as responding to our dispatch and that's it.

    On fireground as said above, only one member should communicate to command on each team but I believe it is essential for safety reasons that both members have a radio incase they get separated or entrapped. Also what if one radio fails? Having two radios is at least a backup.

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhh the power of taking stff right out of context .........CrossBo and MN...I meant that everyone DOES NOT just have a portable radio to carry around. They are on the trucks, if the offcier remembers to bring theirs then every person riding HAS a radio ........thats what I was trying to convey ....
    Last edited by Weruj1; 02-14-2004 at 04:53 PM.
    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

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber
    ullrichk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Deleted by the forum gremlins
    Posts
    1,663

    Default

    How's this for a short answer: It's hard to call a Mayday if you don't have your own radio.

    We have one radio for each riding position and a few spares.

    Too much chatter is not a radio problem, it is a training / discipline problem.

    Feedback can be controlled by turning the volume down on everyone's radio except for the officer / leader radio. Even if the other radios are off, you could still use them in an emergency provided you have trained to use them with gloves on and in total darkness.

    Bone conduction or throat mics also offer an engineering solution to the feedback problem.

    There's probably more than one solution to any of these problems except for the one where a firefighter NEEDS a radio but doesn't have one.
    ullrichk
    a.k.a.
    perfesser

    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

  16. #16
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    1,744

    Default

    Originally posted by ullrichk
    Too much chatter is not a radio problem, it is a training / discipline problem.
    BING-FREAKIN-O

    Originally posted by ullrichk
    Feedback can be controlled by turning the volume down on everyone's radio except for the officer / leader radio.
    Although being able to hear what is going on around you ain't a bad idea either....

  17. #17
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    Using compact radio instead of a pager is quickly picking up popularity, especially if you are on VHF or UHF. Low band isn't really practical as most people don't want a 16" antenna jabbing them in the abdomen all day. The shorter antenna lengths of VHF and especially UHF make it a very good option. You multi-channel, scanning, and paging all in one. Many of the "compact" radios aren't really designed for harsh envirments but or the "routine" stuff, it is fine. Ironiclly, they tend to be cheaper than a pager and work better.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    140

    Default

    At our city- paid dept. there is a radio available for everyone on duty to use while there. They are required to take one each time they leave the station, whether it be on trucks, or on an ambulance. Simply for the reason that if they have a call while out and about, all of them will know about the call. While off duty, they have pagers. Our vol. dept. is also issued radios as well as pagers. It is rather expensive to have both, but communication is very important. In regards to the original issue, if a firefighter is on-duty, out of the station, and not with an officer, he may have trouble responding to a call.

  19. #19
    Temporarily/No Longer Active
    Cellblock776's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    319

    Default

    Each Department vehicle has a portable mounted in the cab. The Chief and Assistant Chiefs each have portable radios. "Active" members, those that run more than 25% of calls per year, can also get a portable. The Chief and Assistant Chiefs and any members who are reserve/aux Police/SO have Police and Sheriff channels programmed into their radios in addition to the standard Fire and Fire Ground Channels.

  20. #20
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    New Rockford, ND
    Posts
    133

    Default

    The Assistance to Firefighters Grant guidline for portable radios is one per seated position on apparatus. So what does that tell us? If each firefighter has a radio, you better have strong protocol for their use and good planning for large opperations or disasters.

    One other thing to keep in mind is the reoccuring expenses of keeping the radios running. My department is small and our budget is tight, the expense for batteries is an issue... lets see in my dept. what uses batteries? portable radios, flashlights, cordless tools, trucks and hopefully a TIC after the 2004 grants. 25 men, 45 run per year, $13,000 budget and we spend $1,500-$2,000 annually for batteries...I guess we will never get a new truck. My point is, radios are great but if you are replacing pagers with radios make sure you can afford it. Our pager batteries cost $7.00 each, portable radio batteries are $60-$75 each.

  21. #21
    Forum Member
    Weruj1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    7,857

    Default

    Toddman..............somewhere in the budget get a battery reconditioner/discharger ! run those puppies through there anc that WILL prolong thier lives.
    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

  22. #22
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    Thats something that has always bugged me. If the police and fire departments are both on compatible radio systems, both agencies should have eachother frequencies to interoperate. A common "operations" channel wouldn't be a bad idea either. Something I have found as a trend goes something like this:

    Fire Dept asks police for permission to add their channels to the FD radios. Police response: "NO! MINE!! Your not allowed on them!!"

    The Police then decide they want the Fire Dept channels in all the PD radios. Police call Fire Dept and say "Give us your channnels so we can put them in our radios and call you."

    It's ok for them but not us in other words. Don't get me wrong, some places are the opposite and everyone can converse in a Utopia of RF. But more often than not, it is opposite.
    Last edited by nmfire; 02-15-2004 at 12:04 PM.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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

    Default

    ditto nm........we do have the PD freq's but htey tell us we cannot use them unless it is an "emergency" ......but htey can of course talk to us on the county fire net without any issue.
    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

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

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

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