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Understanding The Basics Of A Radio Network

Posted by Feld Fire on 8/29/2014 to Fire Equipment

Everyone on the fireground has likely operated a walkie-talkie system at some point in the past, but are you a fire department that considers communication the No.1 priority? If you do, then you probably shouldn't be reading this - because you already know that the mobile radio systems currently in use are not your father's walkie-talkies, and you know that training on these networks is every bit as vital as training in various fire situations.

If you do not training your crews on proper communications efforts with mobile radios, then this is for you.

After we give you a written slap upside the side of your head and ask you, "What are you thinking?"

Now that is done, we can move on. Among al the duties that firefighters perform on the fireground, the most important to safety is success is communication, and mobile radios have been as essential a fireground tool as a hose and an axe. And as we are sure you go through training on proper hose and axe use, it's just as vital that you go over proper communication on the fireground in different situations so everyone has an understanding the best way to use the radios to ensure effective communication. Some of the basics that should be covered in any training should be where the power on/off switch is on the radio, the volume control, how to select the correct channel and locating the emergency button.

Many of these radios have GPS for precise location of every radio unit, so if visual contact is lost with a firefighter inside a structure, they can easily be located in case of trouble. Many of these networks also allow for group communication between multiple people, so not only knowing the features of the radio are important, but also training in terms of avoiding multiple people trying to communicate to a group at the same time and being able to determine the essential information to be communicated so reports and updates are short and to the point to facilitate efficient real-time communication.

It is also important to make sure to train everyone on identifiers and what information must be communicated and to reduce the amount of unnecessary information so al communications are tight and succinct. When it comes to identifiers, there needs to be distinction as to whether each individual firefighter ha an identifier or whether there is one person athat communicates with a crew or group identifier. Knowing this will help eliminate confusion on the fireground, where seconds deciphering a message may mean the difference in lives being saved.

For the sake of your crews, having proper training on communication and operation of the radios will go a long way in keeping crews safe and being efficient and effective in various situations.

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