Our Department along with neighboring Departments are going through a RIT training program. During some Mayday orientation skills, we encountered some problems with radio communications (mostly technique related). One issue was all members of the team carrying radio's and due to the closeness of the group, feedback would occasionally bleed over the radio traffic.
Options were discussed, including members of the same team (RIT or interior fire attack) being on seperate radio frequencies (to monitor all fireground chatter) and also all members equipped with the radio but only the team leader / officer has the radio on (arguments against this were crew members not wanting to have to fumble with operating the radio controls if they became entrapped).
I am interested to hear other Departments operating policies on team radio usage, especially those Departments who issue all members radios and are involved in interior ops on a more regular basis.
Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.
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Thread: Interior Team Radio Use
03-11-2006, 11:11 AM #1
- Join Date
- Feb 2003
- North Wisconsin
Interior Team Radio Use
03-11-2006, 12:41 PM #2
We don't have a policy like this but it is something I want to work on making happen. The wheels of radio policy turn very slowly here. We have the radios and the channels, it is just a matter of training and policy.
Now, as for other area towns and my own logical plan...
Fireground ops are on a simplex tac channel that is the direct mode of the main operations repeater system. This is generally fine for all calls unless it really hits the fan, like in the scenario portrayed.
Upon a mayday call, all fireground operations switch to a different tactical channel. Fireground operations continue on that channel and need not worry about interfering with the rescue operation. The trapped firefighter and RIT/FAST/RESCUE team remain on the previous channel. The trapped firefighter and subsequent rescue teams should not have to change channels or mess with the radio at all. Command and/or Operations would use two radios to monitor both channels.
As far as dealing with feedback, we haven't had that problem. In all the times we've sent teams of 3-4 FF's into the burn buildings, all equiped with radios, feedback has never been a problem. Obviously if you are sitting in a classroom pretending, you will get feedback but we haven't had that occur in the field. Turning the radio OFF is as usful as leaving it on the truck. You shouldn't have to try turning it on after you get lost or hurt.Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.
03-11-2006, 03:12 PM #3
Here's a few techniques from my experience.
1. When two interior FF's (or any FF's for that matter) are in proximity and encounter or expect feedback, have one place his gloved hand tightly over his radio pocket and turn away. Works 99% of the time with no fussing.
2. Here we also assign the backup man on the line the communication responsibilities. His radio is on full volume, while the nozzlemans is turned down a ways. Again, don't face each other directly, or it won't help. The nozzleman can also turn his radio in his pocket so the speaker faces his chest, naturally muffling the transmission. It is not a big deal to grab the radio or antennae and twist it around when you need it, but watch you don't unscrew the antenna by twisting the wrong way.
3. Many departments are also going to the integrated headsets which are only heard in the FF's ear. Since there is no transmission through the speaker, there is no possibility of feedback. This = $$$$'s though.
I also like NM's idea to use dual channels during RIT/FAST ops.Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!
03-11-2006, 03:43 PM #4
Whle we have an SOG for RIG radio opps, we dont for nomal opps. But since the main reason every FF has a radio is if they get in trouble, there really is no reason for anyone but the company officers to have their volume up. They are the only ones who are supposed to be talking in the first place (except in an emergency).
As for RIG opps, if a mayday is sounded the radio channel is cleared, and everyone but the downed FF(s), RIG and the IC switch to a different channel. We talked about haveing the RIG opp switch channels, but decided the downed FF(s) may not be able to do so, so everyone else switches.Fire Marshal/Safety Officer
"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
Success is when skill meets opportunity
Failure is when fantasy meets reality
03-11-2006, 04:01 PM #5
My department adheres to the state stands are clear text and some other standards terms like "RIC group" and the uses of "divisions".
We also use terms "abandon operations" and "withdraw".
I might be able to forward you a RIC/RIT SOP if you want. Let me know.
Here is a link to better detail what I am talking about-
Lastly- I know I have said this before and taken heat for it. But we do not use the term "mayday". It is reserved for air and sea usage.
Last edited by CALFFBOU; 03-11-2006 at 04:04 PM.
03-12-2006, 10:12 AM #6Originally Posted by CALFFBOU
03-12-2006, 10:52 AM #7
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
Here, all the firefighters including volunteers have portables. However, when they are assigned a task as part of a team, only the team leaders radio is expected to be on. If they are tasked to work away from the group (example: part of a vent team but they are assigned to remain on the ladder as a tool grabber) they can have the radio on but are expected not to use it unless they have a very specific and necessary purpose. The same policy applies to RIT ... only the group leader has the radio on unless the team becomes split and even then only the leader of the split team will have the radio on.
We have not discussed swithcing channels here as unfortuantly, RIT is very rarely designated here and to my knowledge has never been used. We do have one additional non-repeater channel available to us and will suggest switching all non-RIT traffic to it in the event we ever have a firefighter rescue situation.
03-12-2006, 03:37 PM #8
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
- Berkshire County
Ear pieces are a useful tool to avoid feedback in any situation..
03-12-2006, 05:42 PM #9
We have had some problems w/ feedback here. Some of the previous replies mentioning placing a hand over the lapel mic, or facing the other direction are good advice. Normally we will have the team leader turn his radio up to high volume and the other members will adjust the volume down to about half.
Just like everything else we do it requires some training, and you need to be able to access & adjust the radio w/ gloves and in the dark. I personally don't think it's a good idea to carry your radio in the off position - just one more thing to mess with if the s#!t hits the fan.
Some of our problems seem to be related to the voice amps on our masks - if the lapel mic is placed too close to the speaker it will cause very bad feedback.
03-12-2006, 09:46 PM #10
All our FAST members have radios and they are on, but only 1 or 2 of each 4 man team have the volumne up. That way, if in need, anyone can transmit."This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?
03-12-2006, 10:49 PM #11
Here is an article that focuses on calling a mayday, but has an interesting radio technique.
These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
03-12-2006, 11:40 PM #12Originally Posted by Bones42Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!
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