More digital radio problems…

Despite the repeated and plentiful problems with digital radios in the fire service, more and more departments are beginning to use them.  Smart, right?

A recent report by the IAFC pinpoints a new hazard that firefighters of all levels should be aware of.  Very simply – high noise has a tendency to disruption in the “audible modulation” (that’s “ability to understand” for the rest of us).  While this may sound obvious, its related attributed directly to the technolgoy in digital radios.

There are alot of implications to this, but most notably is that during “MAYDAY” transmissions or RIT deployments.  A specific finding was that an activated pass-alarm in the area may eliminate the ability to transmit a understandable message.  The take home point is:

  • Firefighters should declare a “MAYDAY” before activating their own PASS alarm
  • RIT teams should silence the downed FF’s PASS alarm ASAP so that nessecary communication can occur.

Recent testing by the Fairfax County FD as well as experience during recent RIT training in the District of Columbia have confirmed these concerns….

More information in these reports:

http://www.iafc.org/associations/4685/files/digProj_DPWGinterimReport.pdf

http://www.iafc.org/associations/4685/files/digProb_PortableRadioBestPractices.pdf

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