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Radio Communications for the Fire Service

First responders know exactly how their communications are supposed to work. Fire departments need a communications system that's reliable in the dense downtown area, in high-rise buildings with a lot of concrete and steel and that operates well in the rural areas with varying terrains. The police department needs a system that functions reliably from portable radios in moving vehicles. A first responder system must accommodate both extremes.

Radio is a lifeline, and for people who put their lives on the line every day, reliable communication is vital everywhere, every time.

Today, in the interest of interoperability and cost justification, first responders are being asked to participate in countywide, statewide, countrywide or citywide shared communications systems. Although fire departments are being asked to be a part of these multi-agency systems, they are often not part of the process of defining the specifications. This can result in a system that does not meet the unique needs of the fire service.

The range of technologies and alternative solutions available is staggering. Choosing and implementing a new wireless communications system can seem a formidable task.

To ensure successful outcomes for new communications systems, it is necessary to become involved early on in the planning process. You’ll discover that some commonly overlooked factors can have a surprisingly important impact on how well your personnel can communicate. The critical areas covered in this guide include appropriate levels of funding for system development, project staffing, training, acceptance testing and problem solving.

Our primary responsibility is that everyone goes home safe at the end of each shift. As fire professionals, we are proud of our profession and strive to give citizens our best effort to save lives and property. One of the most important elements of life safety equipment is reliable, effective radio communication.

With the help of this guide, you will be able to take the first steps in creating informed, thoughtful decisions to facilitate the development of an effective emergency communications system.

  • Topics:
    • Department Administration
    • Communications
  • Resource Type:
    • SOP/SOG
    • Guide/ toolkit/ template
  • Organizational Author:
    • IAFC
    • External

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