1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    [B]I stand by my statement that radios for each firefighter isn't a need, it's a luxury that some departments can afford but most can't.
    If this forum was around 30-40 years ago, I wonder if the same comment would've been made about SCBA's.

    I bet it would've.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Thanks, I was really asking how well does it work. I am just nervous that we'll have accidental activations and that it will tie up radio traffic with the signal being sent... Open mics are bad enough.

    What this guy said, ha http://forums.firehouse.com/showpost...2&postcount=38

    The radio's down here are digital. An accidental activation has never "locked" up a Tac Channel. The signal is all computer to computer (not sure of the word I am looking for). The entire sequence from dispatch receiving and calling the person, and person calling back takes very little air time.
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    Ken ..

    I don't put radios in the same catagory as SCBA's, but you very well might be right.

    In terms of basic firefighting protective equipment, I would rank the needs as follows:

    1. Servicable gear including Hood.
    2. Sufficiant Current SCBA for all interior and roof personnel.
    3. PASS devices for all SCBA.
    4. Radios for all riding positions.
    5. Radios for all members on the fireground.
    6. Bailout equipment for departments who routinly operate in 3+ stroy buildings.

    I don't see how you can address #4 and #5 until you have addesssed 1,2 and 3. There are thousands of departments that struggle with the basics of 1-3 everyday. There is simply no way that you can say a radio is more important than gear, current SCBA and PASS devices. I think it's a fair statement to say that most, if not all, would agree with that.

    In the cases of those departments that are able to provide the basics in personal protective equipment to thier members, and can afford to purchase radios for all members, they should be purchased.

    My point is that there are thousands of departments where the funds are simply not available and that is not a realistic option.

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    It has been my opinion that each and every fire fighter who goes into a burning building should have a radio. Anything could happen. The radio could fail, the person with the radio could fall through the floor or have debris fall on him. What if the person with the radio drops it or looses it somehow. As a minimum, each SCBA should be equipped with an emergency distress signal that transmits to a master control panel on the exterior.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Yes, for you, this is extremely hypocritical. Given you past rantings on safety issues, this is out in left field. Your "real world view" does not make the above statement any less hazardous. In your mind if crew integrity is maintained is there no chance one of the two members could be trapped or fall through the floor? If the radio equipped member goes through the floor, the member w/o is alone, has another firefighter down and must leave to report it! Great scenario

    You see it as hypocritical. I don't. Yes, something may happen. The floor may collapse, the ceiling may come down or something else may happen that may require assistance. The fact is, if the crew is operating together and constantly communicating, the crew officer/leader will know something has happened to one of thier members and be able to radio for assistance. If the firefighter down is the one with the radio thier PASS will self-activate. The firefighters who do not go through the floor can also activate thier PASS devices. In a small or meduim sized residence, this will get assistance as other crews will be operating close enough to hear the PASS. There are ways of getting help. I have been doing this long enough in small and meduim sized towns to know that this is not unsafe.

    The reality is that most fire departments in most small towns simply cannot afford to give all riding positions, much less all members, radios without impacting some other needed area. In a perfect world where money isn't an issue, give everyone a radio, but in the real world, where choices often have to be made, there very well may be other firefighter safety issues that need to be funded as well.

    I stand by my statement that radios for each firefighter isn't a need, it's a luxury that some departments can afford but most can't. I have served in these departments that very much struggle day to day and have far greater and far more basic needs that radios for each member.


    Thank you RFDACM02 for seeing what my post was about. You nailed it with your response.

    LA...you are still without a clue here. You keep saying if the two stick together etc there is no reason for each FF to have a radio. Yet, my example was not a WHAT IF, it was REALITY. That actually happened and a FF died. During a search both FF's had a radio and one was on the wall the other one held the the FF's boot doing a search. The floor collapsed and one went one way, one went the other.

    Both were able to call a MAYDAY. You BS answer is saying that if together there is no need for two radios. Well if such a situation happens again, how can the one without a radio be sure help is on the way, or that the one with a radio is still conscious and able to call a MAYDAY.

    Go ahead and hide behind the budget excuse. This is a firefighter safety issue (one you tout so much). A radio is a crucial piece of equipment for a fire department. Instead of finding excuses as to why NOT to have one, a dept should be finding ways to make it so everyone has one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    You see it as hypocritical. I don't.
    Actually, it would appear that quite a few people in this thread have called you on your hypocrisy, not just a singular "you". You can add me to the list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Ken ..

    I don't put radios in the same catagory as SCBA's, but you very well might be right.

    In terms of basic firefighting protective equipment, I would rank the needs as follows:

    1. Servicable gear including Hood.
    2. Sufficiant Current SCBA for all interior and roof personnel.
    3. PASS devices for all SCBA.
    4. Radios for all riding positions.
    5. Radios for all members on the fireground.
    6. Bailout equipment for departments who routinly operate in 3+ stroy buildings.

    I don't see how you can address #4 and #5 until you have addesssed 1,2 and 3. There are thousands of departments that struggle with the basics of 1-3 everyday. There is simply no way that you can say a radio is more important than gear, current SCBA and PASS devices. I think it's a fair statement to say that most, if not all, would agree with that.

    In the cases of those departments that are able to provide the basics in personal protective equipment to thier members, and can afford to purchase radios for all members, they should be purchased.

    My point is that there are thousands of departments where the funds are simply not available and that is not a realistic option.
    I believe that NFPA already requires integrated PASS devices in SCBA. Why not also include integrated radios with each SCBA as well. A PASS alarm only makes a noise and flashes. A better solution is the accountability systems currently on the market that will monitor the status on a PC screen, perhaps at the command post. But realistically, with a radio, if I get separated I can call for help. And it happens all the time, just read the NIOSH reports. Also, we aren't talking about radios for everyone, just for the guys who go interior. In most cases you would need an additional 4 or 5 radios, that cost is minimal. And for departments with low budgets they should consider including this kind of stuff in a grant request.

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    Smile radios, E-PASS, and the next good idea

    I think it was ChiefKN that said it, (sorry if I misquote) if this was 40 yrs ago this would be about SCBA. Fifteen ago, first gen. PASS. There will always be something (I hope) new to help protect us and make our job safer. Some will have it immediately, some not. All the "preachers" need to study the lesson. We do what we can with what we got. Know any units still running apparatus that are featured in museums, I do. We donated Nomex coats and pants to a dept. that was still wearing cotton duck and you'da thought we gave 'em bags of gold. They operate a 1946 GMC that looks & runs better than a lot of 90's rigs. They have one radio and it is on a desk in the station. Their air packs are 5 "new" MSAs with intergrated PASS.
    OH, and by the way, they cover about 110 sq. miles as their first due. They go to fires, and the fires get put out.

    Maybe in 10-15 yrs we will be on here typing (or maybe it'll be telepathic by then) about how if you ain't got "X", you shouldn't fight fires. Makes good reading though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jccrabby3084 View Post
    Point is, there should be NO DAMN EXCUSE for each firefighter not having their own radio. No one can predict the conditions that one may encounter.
    Bravo sir, bravo...And sorry to hear of your loss.

    With the costs involved with radios these days (ours are $3500 ea), I can understand why some small, rural, very small budget volly FDs might not be able to afford a radio for all. But if your FD does have the money, there is no excuse for not having them. None.

    We have one per seat on each rig and staff officers have their own. Its been that way since I signed on in '83.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983 View Post
    Bravo sir, bravo...And sorry to hear of your loss.

    With the costs involved with radios these days (ours are $3500 ea), I can understand why some small, rural, very small budget volly FDs might not be able to afford a radio for all. But if your FD does have the money, there is no excuse for not having them. None.
    I want to note that we use $250 radios and have had no failures in 6 years! So the cost can be a factor but doesn't have to be. We had much more trouble with more expensive radios before buying these.

    In fact one of our more passionate members realized the need for everyone to have a radio around the same time he realized he needed a charitable contribution for tax purposes (lobster fisherman), so he bought 12 to outfit some of the seating positions who were not officers (already equipped).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Binaroundawhile View Post
    They operate a 1946 GMC that looks & runs better than a lot of 90's rigs. They have one radio and it is on a desk in the station. Their air packs are 5 "new" MSAs with intergrated PASS.
    OH, and by the way, they cover about 110 sq. miles as their first due. They go to fires, and the fires get put out.
    I would guess that most (read as greater than 50%) of fire companies out there are using some sort of outdated equipment. It might be scba's, pass, apparatus, ladders, ppe).

    Isn't that a tragedy? Why is that allowed to continue? Why do departments have to run a bingo to buy ppe?

    There was a great article (I believe it may have been quoted in this thread) about this very topic.

    Can we start with one very simple goal?

    EVERY firefighter who goes into a house on fire should have PPE that meets todays standards. Helmet, hood, coat, pants, boots, gloves, pass.

    Next steps would be SCBA and a RADIO.

    THAT is what AFG should be about... I understand that there are a lot of apparatus out there that is old, and we should get to that too. But personal protection should be first.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HotTrotter View Post
    I believe that NFPA already requires integrated PASS devices in SCBA. Why not also include integrated radios with each SCBA as well. A PASS alarm only makes a noise and flashes. A better solution is the accountability systems currently on the market that will monitor the status on a PC screen, perhaps at the command post. But realistically, with a radio, if I get separated I can call for help. And it happens all the time, just read the NIOSH reports. Also, we aren't talking about radios for everyone, just for the guys who go interior. In most cases you would need an additional 4 or 5 radios, that cost is minimal. And for departments with low budgets they should consider including this kind of stuff in a grant request.

    I agree every FF should have a radio. If you can't afford to buy then go thru DOD surplus for civilian model Motorolas.

    The cost of adding a radio to a SCBA is certainly not trivial. We purchased Scott interface kits and as I recall were around $500ea + radio. Interior atk rated ICOMs ran a bit over $700ea. Thats going to be on top of the new SCBA at $7000ea. Thats serious $ even if you're spending fed grant $.

    New SCBA

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    Posted by ChiefKN

    Can we start with one very simple goal?

    EVERY firefighter who goes into a house on fire should have PPE that meets todays standards. Helmet, hood, coat, pants, boots, gloves, pass.

    Next steps would be SCBA and a RADIO.


    And that is my point.

    I was never opposed to every firefighter having a radio. I am saying it's not necessary given the more basic needs that so many departments have.

    If you noted my original post, I specifically stated that small town and community departments do not need a radio for every firefighter. These are the departments that most often lack the most basic needs of gear, PASS and current SCBA. These are the departments that simply do not have the money for radios without, more often than not, neglecting the more basic elements of PPE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    And that is my point.

    I was never opposed to every firefighter having a radio. I am saying it's not necessary given the more basic needs that so many departments have.

    If you noted my original post, I specifically stated that small town and community departments do not need a radio for every firefighter. These are the departments that most often lack the most basic needs of gear, PASS and current SCBA. These are the departments that simply do not have the money for radios without, more often than not, neglecting the more basic elements of PPE.
    "If you noted my original post, I specifically stated that small town and community departments do not need a radio for every firefighter."

    Wait, are you saying they don't need a radio or cannot afford a radio?

    If they have the money then you agree that every firefighter should have a radio?

    I'm trying to understand, but your post is still confusing me.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Isn't that a tragedy? Why is that allowed to continue? Why do departments have to run a bingo to buy ppe?
    One reason is that nfpa and manufacturers keep insisting that we buy more and more expensive gear with more trivial, bs options. Who really needs an scba with a hud and voice amp?????

    Can we start with one very simple goal?

    Safe, durable, simple gear that is far more affordable.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    Who really needs an scba with a hud and voice amp?????
    I have both on my SCBA Mask. The HUD and Voice amp was bought with FIRE ACT grant money. The HUD is standard in all SCBA Masks we have, and the voice amp goes to the most active FFs. I do not feel that the HUD should be standard. I mean, how hard is it to take a quick look down at your gauge? I find myself never really checking that HUD anyway, I prefer to just use the gauge. That has a much less chance of failing.

    The HUD and Voice Amp should be optional, not standard, unless the companies can substancially reduce the pricing of it.

    There is NO reason for a FF to be wearing a SCBA without a radio of some sorts. I know we all cant afford the 3000 dollar 800 mhz trunked, microwaving, grasscutting radio, but there is no reason a cheap 100-200 dollar VHF with a mic cant be bought, and placed by every seat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    There is NO reason for a FF to be wearing a SCBA without a radio of some sorts. I know we all cant afford the 3000 dollar 800 mhz trunked, microwaving, grasscutting radio, but there is no reason a cheap 100-200 dollar VHF with a mic cant be bought, and placed by every seat.
    It's fine if you feel you need it and want to buy them, but I personally don't see the point. I'll be radioless at work in the morning and Thats just fine with me!
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    It's fine if you feel you need it and want to buy them, but I personally don't see the point. I'll be radioless at work in the morning and Thats just fine with me!
    But will you be 'just fine' with it when you get separated from your crew in a fire, and can't relay that to anyone? What happens then? You're on your own, and they have to search for you without any idea of where you are or if you're ok. They have to go off your last known location. Personally, I'd rather have a radio, irregardless if I use it at a fire or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    One reason is that nfpa and manufacturers keep insisting that we buy more and more expensive gear with more trivial, bs options. Who really needs an scba with a hud and voice amp?????

    Can we start with one very simple goal?

    Safe, durable, simple gear that is far more affordable.
    YES and this is what the AFG money should be buying. NOT very expensive optional equipment like a digital trunked supersecret radio systems.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Chief ..

    I'll try to clarify.

    In a perfect world, every firefighter would have a radio. The world is not perfect. There are thousands of smaller FDs in this country that make choices every day, and for them, a radio for each member sits well down on the list of basic priorities such as gear, SCBA and in some cases, fuel for the trucks. Sure there may be money out there, but in many cases it's a matching grant program, and often the matching money simply isn't available within the department.


    As far as need, those same departments are fighting fire primarily in mobile homes, SF residences and small commercial structures. I stand by my statement that if they are trained to maintain crew intergrety and are trained to operate together, and are trained to turn on thier PASS and activate thier PASS when in trouble, the need for each firefighter having thier own radio in these communties is minimal.

    When you start comparing the need for a radio in those unique situations vs. the need for gear, PASS devices, current and SCBA and fuel in everyday situations, it's clear to see what the priorities are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    I have both on my SCBA Mask. The HUD and Voice amp was bought with FIRE ACT grant money. The HUD is standard in all SCBA Masks we have, and the voice amp goes to the most active FFs. I do not feel that the HUD should be standard. I mean, how hard is it to take a quick look down at your gauge? I find myself never really checking that HUD anyway, I prefer to just use the gauge. That has a much less chance of failing.

    The HUD and Voice Amp should be optional, not standard, unless the companies can substancially reduce the pricing of it.

    There is NO reason for a FF to be wearing a SCBA without a radio of some sorts. I know we all cant afford the 3000 dollar 800 mhz trunked, microwaving, grasscutting radio, but there is no reason a cheap 100-200 dollar VHF with a mic cant be bought, and placed by every seat.
    Not hard at all, but it becomes hard to read when you are visually challeneged. Besides, our gauges don't glow in the dark. Oh yea, one more thing, the HUD cost about as much as the gauge, there is no cost savings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Chief ..

    I'll try to clarify.

    In a perfect world, every firefighter would have a radio. The world is not perfect. There are thousands of smaller FDs in this country that make choices every day, and for them, a radio for each member sits well down on the list of basic priorities such as gear, SCBA and in some cases, fuel for the trucks. Sure there may be money out there, but in many cases it's a matching grant program, and often the matching money simply isn't available within the department.


    As far as need, those same departments are fighting fire primarily in mobile homes, SF residences and small commercial structures. I stand by my statement that if they are trained to maintain crew intergrety and are trained to operate together, and are trained to turn on thier PASS and activate thier PASS when in trouble, the need for each firefighter having thier own radio in these communties is minimal.

    When you start comparing the need for a radio in those unique situations vs. the need for gear, PASS devices, current and SCBA and fuel in everyday situations, it's clear to see what the priorities are.
    But having every interior firefighter with a method to communicate to the outside world should be a goal. I've seen more than one occasion when a department waste money on trinkets or trucks that are way more than what they need. It seems the latest trend around here is for everyone to get a quint. The city departments around here already have them and they are available with mutual aid. Quints are something you need right away, they usually roll in after the initial attack. And they usually get used when there isn't much to save. Waiting an extra 10 minutes for that fire that needs one every 5 years doesn't seem like much of an issue.

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    too many Radios equals problems, we have one rule if you go in you have to keep in contact, on our jump seat in front of it sits a radio, pack goes on, radio in pocket on state fire, fast simple and no matter what there contact with the interior crew now. Safty first

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    Quote Originally Posted by st42stephenAFT View Post
    Personally, I'd rather have a radio, irregardless if I use it at a fire or not.
    That's fine, I'm not saying tons of radios are bad. We just don't do it. It would be very, very unlikely for you to get separated from your crew. The only members who do initially go on their own - rear and roof on the truck and hydrant on the engine - have radios. The rest all operate in very close proximity. When you have 20 guys on a house fire, it's hard to get more than 5 feet from the rest of the jagoffs!
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