I read your recent comments concerning radio systems and wish to respond. So how do you get a good, solid radio system that works and is safe? My suggestions:
Do your homework – talk to other system users and compare notes.
Conduct very detailed product and vendor analysis – talk to the engineers, not just the marketing folks.
Conduct very detailed and well documented vendor contract negotiations so it is clearly delineated what the system performance specifications are and who is responsible for what.
Demand a performance-based fee structure. The vendor is much more responsive to problems when you can document that they haven’t met a contract performance benchmark and their not getting their checks.
Devote ample personnel, time and money to the implementation effort (these shouldn’t be part-time efforts).
Develop your own ‘in-house’ experts.
Don’t take no for an answer.
Conduct testing to ensure system performance meets needs and specifications.
Train your personnel to understand the system and related components. Make sure they understand the system limitations and safety issues.
Develop an implementation plan with system fall backs and safe guards in case of catastrophic failure.
Communicate to your personnel !!! Let them know what is coming, what to expect and when it will arrive.
Radio systems don’t have to perform the way you described. With a little effort on the fire department’s part you can get the type of system you need. What you can’t do is put the blinders on and let the vendor lead you around by the nose and feed you a bunch of crap. You also can’t take a part-time approach and drop the technology in your firefighter’s laps with a 5 minute training session and a wish for good luck with the new equipment.
Thanks for hearing me out. As you well know from your experience and writings on firefighter safety, we’re many times our own worst enemy.