1. #1
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    Thumbs down Chertoff's words of wisdom

    From Fridays USA Today

    [Chertoff also urged police and fire departments and other first responders to train officers and emergency workers in how to use communications equipment provided by the federal government.

    "We can't spoon feed them," he said. "This is something they have to train themselves to use."]


    Well golly gee, we can't get our 2 cups and a string to work.

    Around here we know it is 2006 and have adapted quite well. To make a statement like this is totally absurd. Hopefully he will think next before inserting his foot in his mouth.

    rant off

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    Post Well..........

    That's what happens when you use the words "Chertoff" and "Wisdom" in the same sentence. Mr Chertoff thinks that if the Government buys 100,000 radios and passes them out to America's Firefighters, everyone can communicate with each other, instantly. WRONG. Several things are Wrong here, I'll explain:

    1.End User Compatability - 1 standard radio will be far too complex for some people, while being extremely simple to others.

    2. Existing System Compatability - Anything that I am expected to use MUST fit in with the current system in place here.

    3. Interoperability - This is the BIGGEST pile of BS ever to arrive in the world of Emergency Communications. NOBODY EVER ASKED THE PEOPLE WHO OPERATE IN THE FIELD WHO THEY NEED TO TALK TO. We have these wonderful "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help" kinds of people who don't have the slightest clue. Then add Motorola Engineer types to that crowd, and we're going downhill quick. Damn near everybody OUTSIDE of Emergency Services think that I absolutely MUST have the capability to talk to the dogcatcher located five counties west of me. WRONG. I need a system that will let me talk to those that are on the same incident with me. AND THAT IS ALL THAT I NEED.

    I really hate to act like some people who wave the 9-11-01 thing to embellish their point, but on that day people who were employed with the same agency (FD, PD, Etc.) could not talk to each other, and some died from that. WE NEED TO HAVE 100% Reliability in our own internal communications before we can even think about "Interoperability".

    In closing, NMFire, you out there? Care to weigh in on this? As one who has a great deal more understanding in these matters than I, you should be able to add something. Thanks.
    Last edited by hwoods; 05-14-2006 at 10:18 AM.
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    To paraphrase Chief Goldfedder: Why would I want a $4000 radio that won't communicate to a firefighter 40 feet away in a burning building when I can buy a $400 radio that does the same thing?
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    These everyone-talks-to-everyone ideas just boggle my mind.

    Heck, if you really get down to it...

    After a disaster, we shouldn't even be talking to one another anymore.

    Huh?

    Ever see this modern wonder called "Instant Messaging"

    Really neat thing. Takes up less bandwidth, and offers automatic, positive transcription of the discussion so you can see exactly what was requested.

    Actually, you take it one step further so resource requests are put in through an IM like system, and automatically tracked by those other amazing modern inventions, computer databases.

    If you look at the problems with Resource allocation after Katrina, those issues were NOT communication issues, they where NOT "management" issues, they where NOT a human resources issue.

    We have no communication, management, or human resources system that can handle that volume of transactions under that much stress in that short of time and keep a handle on the situation.

    It WAS an Information Management problem. And we have the computer systems that CAN handle and analyze massive amounts of information. Maybe need some tuning of algorithims for emergency use.

    But fundamentally, placing a request for needs is simple. Placing an "available" status on resources is simple. Anyone whose ever used anyone of the online mapping programs knows that getting a distance and fairly decent directions and travel time estimate between point A and B is fairly simple.

    These types of requests are grunt type stuff of massive volumes...perfect for computers.

    Give the firefighters & police & public works simple radio systems to work with each other.

    Their upper managers don't need interagency radios, since they should already be at a command post where they can speak face-to-face.

    Political leadership and regional managers may need statewide systems, but those are specialized applications.

    I guess those are the bullet points. Yes, there's many related issues, but fundamentally the problem is almost if not everyone in the position to put money towards the issue are completely blinded trying to fix something that can not be fixed.

    Stop thinking it's a "communication" issue; a "management system" issue; a human factors issue; It's an information problem, fix it with information technology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods
    That's what happens when you use the words "Chertoff" and "Wisdom" in the same sentence. Mr Chertoff thinks that if the Government buys 100,000 radios and passes them out to America's Firefighters, everyone can communicate with each other, instantly. WRONG. Several things are Wrong here, I'll explain:

    1.End User Compatability - 1 standard radio will be far too complex for some people, while being extremely simple to others.

    2. Existing System Compatability - Anything that I am expected to use MUST fit in with the current system in place here.

    3. Interoperability - This is the BIGGEST pile of BS ever to arrive in the world of Emergency Communications. NOBODY EVER ASKED THE PEOPLE WHO OPERATE IN THE FIELD WHO THEY NEED TO TALK TO. We have these wonderful "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help" kinds of people who don't have the slightest clue. Then add Motorola Engineer types to that crowd, and we're going downhill quick. Damn near everybody OUTSIDE of Emergency Services think that I absolutely MUST have the capability to talk to the dogcatcher located five counties west of me. WRONG. I need a system that will let me talk to those that are on the same incident with me. AND THAT IS ALL THAT I NEED.

    I really hate to act like some people who wave the 9-11-01 thing to embellish their point, but on that day people who were employed with the same agency (FD, PD, Etc.) could not talk to each other, and some died from that. WE NEED TO HAVE 100% Reliability in our own internal communications before we can even think about "Interoperability".

    In closing, NMFire, you out there? Care to weigh in on this? As one who has a great deal more understanding in these matters than I, you should be able to add something. Thanks.
    What he said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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    Quick!
    Someone get me one of those radios. I want to talk to Chertoff.
    I want to see if I can "reason" with his "wisdom".
    CR
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    Chertoff is absolutely right and I agree with his statement 110% twice over. All too often, the radios are overlooked in training. Most firefighter's knowlege of their radios ends when the channel knob leaves #1. Forget what the other channels are and how the other important functions work. Then when you need it, it becomes a chineese fire drill running around in circles wondering what to do. This can be a simple mutual call or a major multi-agency emergency. We use 10% of the radio for 90% of the calls. But when you need the other 90% of the radio for 10% of the calls, nobody will know what to do. The training officers of every department need to do a few things:

    A) Come to terms with the radio being an importany life-safety device just like SCBA
    B) Lean how to use it completely and educate the rest of the officers. Lead from the top and lead by example
    C) Train everyone on it. It might take a whole drill night but it needs to be done.
    D) Use the radios in other drills to maintain proficiency

    What everyone else in this thread has been talking about is kind of a different topic all together. You taking it beyond the context. Everyone-talking-to-everyone is obviously impractical to be taken on by one department with one grant. However, planning for regional communications capability is perfectly within reason. It is working great around here. Everyone around us (including ourselves) is slowly upgrading our radio systems to UHF, using both town and grant funding. We all look at what the grand scheme of things looks like and planned accordingly. Does it extend to the entire state? No. Can someone in Westerly, RI turn to channel 483 and talk to my department in CT, no. But there is no need for either of those. Those of us that work mutual aid regularly with eachother and are within close range are all on the same page.

    So how do you communicate with someone further away on a different band? This is what the U-TAC, V-TAC, and I-TAC channels are for! If everyone put those channels in their radios somewhere, everyone in the country will have a set of common channels. The state of CT has several tactical cross band repeaters on the U-TAC, V-TAC, and I-TAC channels. When we show up on UHF and Bumblefudge FD shows up on VHF, and New Haven shows up with 800Mhz, everyone goes to the assigned U/V/I-TAC channel and the link is turned on. Now you're all on one virtual channel with no computers or miles of wires or telephones or sattallittes or internet.

    So, large scale communications interoperability is perfectly doable and it doesn't REQUIRE everyone to be on the same type of system. Small scale interoperability for local mutual aid is used far more often and should be planned carefully for ease of use and best use of grant resources.
    Last edited by nmfire; 05-15-2006 at 11:40 AM.
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    This is all fine and we are quite capable of all of the enhanched radio equipment. My problem is that this bozo in the position he is in, should not be talking about "spoon feeding" the nations police and fire department. If he would like the nations departments to train then tell them so in an adult manner. And yes I did take offense to his statement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods
    That's what happens when you use the words "Chertoff" and "Wisdom" in the same sentence. Mr Chertoff thinks that if the Government buys 100,000 radios and passes them out to America's Firefighters, everyone can communicate with each other, instantly. WRONG. Several things are Wrong here, I'll explain:

    1.End User Compatability - 1 standard radio will be far too complex for some people, while being extremely simple to others.

    2. Existing System Compatability - Anything that I am expected to use MUST fit in with the current system in place here.

    3. Interoperability - This is the BIGGEST pile of BS ever to arrive in the world of Emergency Communications. NOBODY EVER ASKED THE PEOPLE WHO OPERATE IN THE FIELD WHO THEY NEED TO TALK TO. We have these wonderful "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help" kinds of people who don't have the slightest clue. Then add Motorola Engineer types to that crowd, and we're going downhill quick. Damn near everybody OUTSIDE of Emergency Services think that I absolutely MUST have the capability to talk to the dogcatcher located five counties west of me. WRONG. I need a system that will let me talk to those that are on the same incident with me. AND THAT IS ALL THAT I NEED.

    I really hate to act like some people who wave the 9-11-01 thing to embellish their point, but on that day people who were employed with the same agency (FD, PD, Etc.) could not talk to each other, and some died from that. WE NEED TO HAVE 100% Reliability in our own internal communications before we can even think about "Interoperability".

    In closing, NMFire, you out there? Care to weigh in on this? As one who has a great deal more understanding in these matters than I, you should be able to add something. Thanks.
    http://www.capwin.org/
    Chief, I have to respectfully disagree on some of your points. Every department in the DC Metro area was surveyed on this subject intensively. From the bottom up. The fact that it was 2-4 years ago might just make it seem like they aren't listening. While the WTC was a problem with inner department communications, at the Pentagon there was serious problems with intra-department communications. We need to have 100%, or as clase as possible, communication internally and interoperability. And people are trying to help and are trying to listen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace
    http://www.capwin.org/
    Chief, I have to respectfully disagree on some of your points. Every department in the DC Metro area was surveyed on this subject intensively. From the bottom up. The fact that it was 2-4 years ago might just make it seem like they aren't listening. While the WTC was a problem with inner department communications, at the Pentagon there was serious problems with intra-department communications. We need to have 100%, or as clase as possible, communication internally and interoperability. And people are trying to help and are trying to listen.
    Dennis, Thank you. I may need to clarify a couple of points, but we're probably pretty much in agreement. In reference to "Surveyed every department in the DC area" I have no doubt that "Someone" in my County was in on this. My point is that those who work on things like this need to deal with the people who might not make it back from the next run, NOT the political appointees (outside the department) who have their very own self serving political agenda which does NOT include my survival.

    I have no problem understanding that we need to communicate between the myrid agencies that get involved on a major incident, but there are those (I've met a few) that want a "Star Wars" approach to this problem, involving hundreds of Millions of dollars, so that everyone can talk to everyone. I respectfully submit that there is a huge difference between the amount of people who NEED to talk to the I.C. of a major incident, and the amount of people who simply WANT to do so. I love people, but I do NOT want to hear from the dogcatcher while I'm running a Fireground.
    Last edited by hwoods; 05-15-2006 at 05:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterboy1
    This is all fine and we are quite capable of all of the enhanched radio equipment. My problem is that this bozo in the position he is in, should not be talking about "spoon feeding" the nations police and fire department. If he would like the nations departments to train then tell them so in an adult manner. And yes I did take offense to his statement.
    This is really true...especially since YOU are acting like such an adult.

    This nation's fire service can't look out the window and agree if it's day or night. We have department's that favor gold leaf over funcitonal interior fire fighting equipment. Most fire departments consider words like regoinalization, consolidation, cooperation and interoperability as dirty words. We want the federal government to give us wheelbarrows full of money but do not want one shred of accountability in exchange. And you want the DHS to take the fire service seriously? Please. Under today's current climate NO ONE should take the fire service seriously.

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    Six years ago with the birth of FIRE Act, many departments were complaining because they had to agree to use NFIRS. I would be curious to know if everyone who got money began using NFIRS, if they weren't already.
    Here in Illinois, if you agree to use NFIRS and go to Springfield and take the class, the state will GIVE you the software AND the computer to run it on.
    But alas; now you have to adopt NIMS in order to get the same FIRE Act grant and many are grumbling about that.
    So, let's see; a statistical system for reporting incidents and a process to assist departments with incidents that stretch well beyond their capabilities to mitigate AND WE'RE SQUAWKING?
    It's no wonder they are talking about the military for large scale events.
    And of course, we're bitching about that.
    Maybe the states should start out with MABAS and work their way up.
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    Saying they aren't going to "spoon feed" the training to might be somewhat childish. However, it is no more childish than our own lack of training that brought about the statement in the first place. We take hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money because we need to enhance communications. Then we hand out the radios and proceed to whine about not knowing how to use them when the ()*&$ hits the fan. Stop complaining, LEARN, and then TEACH! You are wasting or tax dollars if you buy a $1500 portable radio and never do anything with it but use channel one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods
    Dennis, Thank you. I may need to clarify a couple of points, but we're probably pretty much in agreement. In reference to "Surveyed every department in the DC area" I have no doubt that "Someone" in my County was in on this. My point is that those who work on things like this need to deal with the people who might not make it back from the next run, NOT the political appointees (outside the department) who have their very own self serving political agenda which does NOT include my survival.

    I have no problem understanding that we need to communicate between the myrid agencies that get involved on a major incident, but there are those (I've met a few) that want a "Star Wars" approach to this problem, involving hundreds of Millions of dollars, so that everyone can talk to everyone. I respectfully submit that there is a huge difference between the amount of people who NEED to talk to the I.C. of a major incident, and the amount of people who simply WANT to do so. I love people, but I do NOT want to hear from the dogcatcher while I'm running a Fireground.
    I have family, blood and in the firehouse, that have worked on the project and they have talked to everyone from probationary firefighters, in all the area jurisdictions, paid and volunteer, through veteran firefighters, fire ground officers, beat cops, batallion chiefs, precient captains, up to the big dogs in the glass towers. Even though you might not have talked directly to anyone, you probably at a minimum got an e-mailsurvey three years ago that you either filled out and forgot about or sent it right to the trash and forgot about it. The folks are not political appointies on the project rather their are a lot of dedicated veteran firefighters, cops, and emergency management professionals working with some real techno-geeks to solve the problem while trying to keep politics out of it.

    Since 9-11 is the real instigator of getting folks together on this finally (I was on a project in 1998 where we warned about it and was reminded by folks with ACFD, DCFD and the U.S. Park Police that it had been a problem at the AirFlorida crash 16 years prior), 9-11 problems are always used as the example. The NYPD was not able to let the PAPD and the FDNY know what their helos were seeing that day, and when they were able to get those words across the IC was apparently not able to get the word out to all the guys in the towers and the surrounding area. Of course everyone WANTS to be in the loop, that is human nature, but that was a time that everyone NEEDED to be in the loop and we likely lost people because they were not. Some of that was not an interoperability problem, that is true, the radios just did not work in the setting that they were operating in, but a lot of it was an interoperability problem and that has been adressed, with good solutions offered. I think that we should be open to and accepting of that help, and step up and do our share.
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    So Dennis, do you honestly believe that if every LEO and FF in NY had a radio that shared 1 frequency, so they could communicate with each other, that would actually make sense? Wouldn't it make more sense to have the IC from each department working together in a command post and they could verbally notifiy each other face to face, then pass the info on to their respective groups? Everyone talking to everyone will lead to lots and lots of everyone saying nothing.
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    If you're going to have a radio system that works 100% and you mention "statewide"repeaters I ask you this:In a natural disaster what is one of the first things in a radio system to fail? Often the repeater.So our system has several redundencies that DO NOT rely on a repeater to function particularly on the local level.Same go for leaving channel one.All radios are programmed the same,have LCD screens,PLUS a written(typed) channel list.Chertoff can't even figure his own works out and he's going to tell us how to run ours?At least I know where my ice is.Things really are better in the North woods. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    So Dennis, do you honestly believe that if every LEO and FF in NY had a radio that shared 1 frequency, so they could communicate with each other, that would actually make sense? Wouldn't it make more sense to have the IC from each department working together in a command post and they could verbally notifiy each other face to face, then pass the info on to their respective groups? Everyone talking to everyone will lead to lots and lots of everyone saying nothing.
    They don't need to share one frequency all the time with the moden radios, but the radios can be set up so that emergency order can go out to everyone. And you still need that cop IC to be able to talk to the fire IC, they are not always in the same place, and many times they have very different roles that put them in different places so the face to face is not possible. There are also going to be times where the cop IC will benefit from having the firefighter in the actions eyes and vise-versa.
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    Bones is also right. Not everyone meaning individuals needs to be on one channel. Command communications is what really needs to be on the same page and each group can operate on their own channel like they normally do. But when the leaders of each group (PD, FD, EMS, City, Etc) can't talk to eachother, then you've got nothing.
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