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  1. #61
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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).


  2. #62
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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    I would guess that most (read as greater than 50%) of fire companies out there are using some sort of outdated equipment.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.

    "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."

  3. #63
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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

  4. #64
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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.

  5. #65
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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.

    "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."

  6. #66
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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

  7. #67
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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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  8. #68
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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

  9. #69
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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.

  10. #70
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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."

  11. #71
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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.

  12. #72
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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.

  13. #73
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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.

  14. #74
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    Default why

    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

  15. #75
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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!
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

  16. #76
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    I think that if budget allows then every seasoned firefighter should have a radio. I don't think that new people or probationary fire fighters need one if they are not allowed to do interior attack then they really don't need a radio, so radio's should be given out to members of the FD who are cleared for interior operations. If budget doesn't allow this then have certain number of radios on the trucks and require that only the people who are in the immediate hot zone take a radio.

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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'm not going to get into the whole hypocricy issue.

    I will say that I find the above post, viewed in isolation, pretty well irrefutable.

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    One thing I haven't heard anyone answer is how much gear do we need? I suggested that Radios are essential and we should not accept "they cost too much" as a reason for not having radios. There have been a number of responses identifying gear which is important for firefighting, and several which have posted a hierarchy of importance. Where do we draw the line on what is and is not essential?

    For example, turnout gear was listed as item #1. If we cannot afford turnout gear, do we still go in?

    SCBAs as item #2. If we cannot afford SCBAs, do we still go in?

    Why is it that we get to Radios, and we can suddenly draw a magic line in the sand that they are too expensive? That it is acceptable to go without, if you cannot afford them? And if that is the conclusion being drawn, what equipment is essential? What can we not do without? How do you make that justification or distinction?

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by LawFires View Post
    One thing I haven't heard anyone answer is how much gear do we need? I suggested that Radios are essential and we should not accept "they cost too much" as a reason for not having radios. There have been a number of responses identifying gear which is important for firefighting, and several which have posted a hierarchy of importance. Where do we draw the line on what is and is not essential?

    For example, turnout gear was listed as item #1. If we cannot afford turnout gear, do we still go in?

    SCBAs as item #2. If we cannot afford SCBAs, do we still go in?

    Why is it that we get to Radios, and we can suddenly draw a magic line in the sand that they are too expensive? That it is acceptable to go without, if you cannot afford them? And if that is the conclusion being drawn, what equipment is essential? What can we not do without? How do you make that justification or distinction?
    Good questions.. But I think it's a rather easy thing to justify the difference.

    If you do not have PPE and an SCBA in almost all cases, you will die or suffer serious injury if you are doing an interior fire attack these days.

    However, in most cases (read as >98%) of fires if you don't have a radio, you can function fine and not have an injury or death. Doesn't mean it's a good idea, but is it a deal breaker? No. In fact, most firefighters are doing it day in and day out.

    Also, there are other means of communication. Activate your pass, tell your buddy (if you are sharing a radio), relying on air horns...etc.

    FOR THE RECORD> I'm not advocating the above in place of radios, merely answering your question.

    I would hate for the fire service to decide not to enter a structure fire because they don't have a radio... however, they should NOT enter without PPE and SCBA (that is a deal breaker).
    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."

  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by quint1officer View Post
    Ours don't. Our dispatch doesn't have the capability to interact with them, so all they do is make a siren noise when you hit them. For those that use them, do they utilize a separate freq to id to your dispatch? We only have 1 monitored freq, so we didn't want to tie it up with a beacon that can't be acknowledged.

    When the button is depressed the radio id pops up on the screen indicating an emergency and that unit needs help ASAP. For example you are inside fighting a house fire and you become disoriented and need the RIT team to get you. By activating the button the radio id appears and the dispatcher who is monitoring the channel SHOULD transmit an alert tone to get everyone's attention and stop all operations until the unit that transmitted the emergency is contacted then operations to handle that emergency proceed or if it is accidental the radio is turned off then on to clear the emergency and operations continue. That is basically how it works with those orange buttons. I hope this helps ya out a bit.

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