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Thread: Pg County News

  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Default Pg County News

    I was watching the news this morning and a very brief story came up regarding someone breaking into the PG County 911 system and paging out bogus calls. There wasn't a lot of detail in the story, other than to say that apparently two FD's and one ambulance had been sent to "Nowheresville".

    There is nothing noted in the Washington Post or Times, so was just wondering if there was any further info.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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  2. #2
    Forum Member skyraider's Avatar
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    Was going to ask Harve about it....got this in my email today....I tell you what....This is just stupid!:


    Hacker Breaks Into Emergency Communications System
    Prince George's County Records Hacker's Voice
    POSTED: 6:48 am EST November 30, 2005 - UPDATED: 8:40 am EST November 30, 2005

    http://www.nbc4.com/news/5432961/detail.html

    BLADENSBURG, Md. -- Prince George's County officials say someone has broken into the county's emergency communications system and has transmitted bogus information to emergency crews.

    Authorities said one incident happened early Friday morning after Company 9, in Bladensburg, Md., was dispatched on a call. Officials said a voice came over the radio saying "hold nine, return the rest."

    Fire department spokesman Mark Brady told News4, "It's a standard radio transmission made by an incident commander indicating to hold fire station 9 units and return all the other units, and on this particular incident it was a full box alarm consisting of seven different stations."

    Fire Chief Randy Kuenzli figured it out and immediately advised units over his radio that it was an illegal radio transmission.

    Fire officials said there is only one recording of the incident so far, but firefighters at Station 9 said it's happened three other times. Also in the last couple of weeks, officials believe this same man gave an ambulance crew responding to an emergency some false information.

    Vernon Herron with the Prince George's County Department of Homeland Security told News4, "I really don't want to go into how it's done, because I don't want to encourage somebody else out there to do something this stupid." Herron said if anyone knows who is doing this to contact authorities in Prince George's County right away.
    Last edited by skyraider; 11-30-2005 at 11:59 AM.

  3. #3
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    A whacker with a scanner AND transmitter?
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

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    MembersZone Subscriber MrYuk's Avatar
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    FRY HIM!!!!!!!!!

    There is a guy here that transmits on the Houston Police Westside frequency. He is some old drunk, usally barks at the dispatcher and yells at everyone saying "come and get me". It's pretty funny to listen to but he does get in the way of important radio conversation.

    Maybe he set the fire that he told to "hold nine and return the rest". He wanted it to burn longer even though he should have thought that the IC would know better then to just let everyone leave because of some stupid radio transmission.
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  5. #5
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    Doesn't sound like a hack to me.

    Just someone with a one of several things --
    A FD radio
    A stolen FD radio
    One of number of commercial or modified ham radios and a list like this: http://www.radioreference.com/module...e=RR&ctid=1204

    (FYI, whenever I've posted frequencies online, I haven't included PLs to at least make someone work at it a bit...)

    Back in the 70s a prankster in our area tape-recorded the siren activation signals....then drove to the top of a high hill so his mobile radio would have good range when he keyed the mic and played back the tape...

    Frankly, I'd rather have simple and unsecured systems like PG for fireground use since they're less likely to fail even though they're vulnerable to dumb asses.

    Sure, you could make it digital and encrypted, for much more $$$ and much more likely to fail when you need it. Oh, and even if you did that someone who was determined to F* with you will figure out how.

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Speaking of digital/encrypted signals, Victoria Captial Regional District is using what they call CREST. I dont know how the acronym spells out, but what I do know is that as per what Dal was saying, it doesn't work 1/2 the time. Last I heard, the Police Chief had gone out and bought Mike phones (I think thats what they were - translated: Nextel) because they had such problems with loss of signal in the most bizzare of places, like inside a house.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  7. #7
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Forum Member PFire23's Avatar
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    Rick,

    Regarding CREST, I think they are losing frequency in concrete structures ...... the one they've talked of a lot is "crack ho towers". They did pick up some MIKE phones, and some have resorted to using their cells when their radios crap out. It affects police, fire and ambulance. I haven't experienced our radios not working yet, either in town or on the island; but then again I haven't responded to any of the d/t core/area buildings. Crappy situation for sure, hopefully they find a resolution soon before someone is injured or killed. There was an incident recently in which 2 female cops responded to a domestic and encountered an unstable female with a knife and the radios wouldn't work. Thankfully everything worked out ok, but it could have had a much more tragic ending.

    Couple of articles:

    Victoria emergency staff want new radio system
    CTV.ca News Staff

    Emergency services workers in part of British Columbia are calling for a new radio communications system.

    They want it to replace the current system, called Capital Region Emergency Service Telecommunications (CREST), because they say it doesn't work.

    "When it works, it works fine," Victoria Police Sgt. Glenn Vermette told CTV News. "However Murphy's Law would always have it that when you need it the most, it's not there."

    The radio system is two years old. It cost $17 million.

    Emergency services workers have been experiencing problems with the system in everyday use. It also ran into trouble during a recent co-ordinated mock disaster.

    "We were without any meaningful radio communication for probably just over an hour. That compromises officer safety, and that obviously filters down to public safety," Vermette said.

    The CREST system is used by 39 agencies, including all emergency personnel. A recent study on the system found it flawed and prone to failing completely in the event of a large-scale emergency.

    On Wednesday, unions representing all of the fire and police forces in Victoria demanded a new system.

    "When one of our police officers needs to call an ambulance or fire truck to help one of your loved ones, we need to know that we'll be heard," Victoria Police Union President Sgt. Steve Ing told a press conference.

    Firefighters say they've run into situations where they've lost all communication while fighting blazes inside buildings.

    "We've had a couple of close calls, we've had situations where we've lost communication with incident command and I would call them close calls," Victoria Fire Fighters Union President Rick Farrell told a press conference. "Is it a matter of time? Yeah probably."

    Police management agrees with the safety concerns, and they've purchased a short-term back-up system.

    "We moved unilaterally to try and deal with the short term fix, the long term fix is going to be more complex," Deputy Chief Bill Naughton of the Victoria Police told CTV News. "It may be that the current system cannot be fixed based on the experiences we've seen in other jurisdictions."

    But, the politician in charge of the regional communication system is downplaying the concerns of emergency services workers.

    "How much money are we willing to spend?" CREST Chairman Gordie Logan told CTV News. "The system works well right now albeit the city of Victoria has some concerns and we know that there are some pockets in the greater Victoria area that have dead zones. We're going to look at that."

    Bus drivers also use the Crest system, and they have full access to it. Emergency workers don't have priority on the system, and that means bus drivers could bump fire and police officials during an emergency situation.

    So far, the system has cost $17 million, and has been paid for by local taxpayers and a levy on landline phones. The fix is estimated to cost about $4 million, and that too would come from the local tax base.

    But with a huge loss in confidence in the system and in the technology, it remains to be seen if the system will be fixed or scrapped.

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNew...51109/20051109

    Victoria police and firefighters want new radio system
    Last Updated: Nov 10 2005 11:23 AM PST
    Police and firefighters in Victoria say their radios often don't work in emergencies and unions in four municipalities are demanding a new radio system to replace the current one.

    There have been several problems recently with the communications system, which is known as CREST.

    First, an independent report concluded the system will fail in a major emergency. Then, during a recent emergency exercise, the system failed for about an hour. And during last week's windstorm, it failed again.

    Victoria City councillor Dean Fortin plans to push for an assessment of the system, but he says he needs the co-operation of all the other municipalities and police and fire services that use CREST.

    But police and firefighters don't want another review; they want a back up system installed immediately.

    "This is issue is more than simply something about officer safety," says Sgt. Steve Ing of the Victoria Police Union. "When one of our police officers needs to call a fire truck or ambulance for one of your loved ones, we need to know that we'll be heard."

    Police and firefighter unions are calling for a correction of CREST's coverage problems and the addition of a backup cellular-based system.

    Victoria police have already spent $8,000 new cell phones for their own separate backup.

    The CREST system was installed just two years ago for more than $17 million.

    http://www.cbc.ca/bc/story/print/bc_radios20051110

    City will look into ways to improve emergency radios

    Malcolm Curtis
    Times Colonist


    Friday, November 11, 2005





    The City of Victoria is seeking further technical assessment of emergency communications in light of the highly publicized flaws in the CREST system.

    The system, installed two years ago to replace a patchwork of radio systems across the Capital Region, has failed to work in various areas of the city centre.

    Council agreed Thursday to seek an analysis of how the radio communications can be improved, including the possibility of using supplementary radio systems or alternatives.

    "We may have to look at another system," said Mayor Alan Lowe.

    The city's fire and police departments have been forced to use backup communications systems because the CREST system has failed to work in downtown buildings.

    Unions representing police and firefighters say their members are placed in danger by the communications problems and they've called for an immediate fix.

    CREST was established two years ago at a cost of more than $18 million, using Motorola equipment.

    The municipality of Victoria is one of 20 organizations who own and operate the CREST system, designed to provide a common radio linking an array of emergency services, including paramedics, and other agencies, including BC. Transit, the airport and the armed forces.

    CREST never promised 100 per cent coverage of the region through its system of nine transmission towers linked through a command system in Langford. But Lowe said the "terms and conditions" of the CREST deal were changed without city police and fire department officials knowing.

    The city police force has equipped all of its officers with a CREST radio at an annual cost initially set at $350 per unit. That cost has risen to $550, Lowe said.

    The city is seeking a meeting of the CREST board later this month to initiate the technical assessment.

    Coun. Dean Fortin said the choice of the current system was made by the previous council. It appears that changes were made to reduce costs, initially estimated in the $40-million range, Fortin said.

    Motorola has indicated that the communications problems are not related to the radios but a shortage of antennas. A company spokesman said it recommended installing an antenna in the downtown Bay Centre but this was not done.

    Consultant Planetworks has recommended adding five new antennas to the CREST system, including four downtown, at a cost of about $4 million.

    © Times Colonist (Victoria) 2005

    http://working.canada.com/victoria/n...gyMyQmnQ%3D%3D

    (sorry for the hijack....... please return to your regularly scheduled thread)
    Last edited by PFire23; 12-01-2005 at 09:41 AM.
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  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Thanks Jenn. I was working from memory, and we know that mine suffers sometimes. Lots goes in, but often very little gets out.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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