View Poll Results: should departments use radios, pagers or pagers and radios

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  • use radios to tone out and respond

    5 17.86%
  • use pagers and keep radios only for fireground ops

    8 28.57%
  • use pagers to tone out& let members turn on their radios when there is a call

    15 53.57%
  1. #1
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    Post communication equipment

    My dept. is going to replace our pager system on the next fiscal year. I was wanting to know facts and opinions on if it would be better to go to radios and facts i can use to get my dept to switch to radios. please respond.

  2. #2
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    We have a combination of digital (text) and analog (voice) pagers. Generally, command units and medical personnel have digital pagers and a radio while strictly firefighters (don't ever respond direct) have analog pagers. Works for us.

  3. #3
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    You can purchase decent radios with pager function for significantly less $ that a Motorola pager. We use Vertex VX-180 and a few Minitor IV. The VX-180 have been completely satisfactory for paging, communications while responding and on the fire ground (not intrensically safe or rated for interior attack though). The VX-180 have at least 3x the reception range of the Minitors. If in a steel machine shed 5mi from the pager tower the Minitor will not reliably receive the page. I've received pages on my VX180 20+i from the tower while in a car, as this is 10mi outside of our fire district it's certainly good enough for us. We would, in general, love to ge our DHS $ back on these Motorola POS, but a couple of guys carry them as they find them more convient when working under/on cars/machinery than a radio and the store/repeat to be useful. But we are't confident they will/have received that page so someone always makes them a telephone/cell call while in route to the station.

  4. #4
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    mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Good points NeIowa,

    We've gone through a few different trials, so I'll give you my experience and opinion.

    First, we issued radios to all FF's for several years before changing our protocol. Today we issue radios to officers only, so they can directly answer the dispatches or requests from mutual aid depts. All FF's get Minitor pagers, and each apparatus has a supply of radios.

    The pro's to issuing radios:

    -Everyone gets one, and theoretically everyone on scene ends up with one.
    -The supply of radios should never be exhausted by a large turnout of members, and if units fail on scene, there are lots to replace with.
    -There should be no limitations on FF-FF communications.

    The con's to issuing radios:

    -The FF's arrive on scene with partially, or sometimes fully discharged batteries. Extra batteries on engines = extra money, and a little wasted scene time.
    -If you get a small member turnout, you get very few radios on scene. Makes it difficult to replace faulty or damaged units on the fireground.
    -Members often tie up the channel with unnecessary chatter. This should just be a training and discipline issue, but it is still often an issue.
    -Radios are expensive. If a FF breaks or loses a high-end radio it may be up to $1000+ to replace. A pager is worth no more than half of that.
    -If you are a busier dept, members may be reluctant to carry a squawking radio into certain environments (i.e. restaurants, etc.), and that could affect turnouts.

    Pager Pro's:

    -Pagers are smaller, and usually have discrete notification modes (i.e. vibrate, etc.), and so most members are more willing to carry them everywhere.
    -Pager battery life is measured in many days or weeks, and nightly recharging is not required.
    -Most pagers can use regular alkaline batteries if unable to recharge as scheduled.
    -You can buy twice as many pagers for the same dollars as good radios.
    -Some Pagers are available with an optional memory chip to record and replay dispatches and instructions.


    I think you can guess what my opinion is, but in the end, go with whatever works best for your situation.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  5. #5
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    Malahat VFD carries Minotor 2, 3 and 4's. A few years ago (before my time) a member dropped his pager in the driveway while working on his truck. Lots of rain later, he accidentally backed over it with the truck. Fortunately for the rain, it sank into the mud.

    Not realizing he had dropped it, it was a while before he went hunting for it. Anyhow, the short of the story is, the pager was still very functional even after being in the rain and being driven over by a Chevy 1 ton. Not sure that a HT1000 or 1250 would have held up as well.

    Now with my new dept I carry a US Mobility pager, with text capability. I like the text feature as there is no more scrambling to turn the volume up (or down ) to hear the page. But like mcaldwell says, go with what suits you folks best.
    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.

  6. #6
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    ___________
    Last edited by sfd2605; 03-17-2008 at 09:09 PM.

  7. #7
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    Wow!

    That is the longest sentence in the world.

    The comma in the first line leads you to believe that you might get some punctuation, then BAM!, the endless sentagraph.
    Last edited by mcaldwell; 03-10-2006 at 09:31 PM.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  8. #8
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    Default Use Both

    I am in a small volunteer department. We have given our members the choice of a Radio w/pager capabilities or a pager. So far so good. Been doing that now for 2 years.

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