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NPSTC Seeks Volunteers for NEW Working Group: Radio Interoperability Best Practices

Date: 2014-05-05
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After-action reports of recent tragic events such as the Yarnell Hill Fire where 19 firefighters died in a raging Arizona wildfire, and the deaths of 12 people at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard shooting incident identified faulty radio communications as a factor. The Yarnell Hill report, conducted by a team of local, state, and federal fire experts, pointed to repeated problems with radios and contact with the crew. Following the Navy Yard shootings, some members of Congress asked for an investigation into reports indicating that due to faulty radios and lost coverage in buildings, some first responders had to resort to their personal cell phones and "runners" to communicate as the tragedy was unfolding.

NPSTC's Governing Board recognized a need and asked the Interoperability Committee, in partnership with the Technology Committee's Radio Programming Compatibility (PCR) Working Group, to develop a new Working Group to examine radio interoperability best practices.  The Working Group will develop best practices to enhance the ability of first responders to efficiently communicate in situations requiring the response of more than one public safety entity.

Potential examples of best practices could include the following:

  • Any emergency service worker who is assigned into a hazardous working environment (or zone) shall have the communication plan for an incident or an assigned operational period programmed in exactly the same channel positions, deck, or zone with the same channel names of the communication plan for the incident.
  • Radio programming must have detailed tone code squelch parameters outlined clearly and distributed to all responding groups.

Volunteers interested in joining this Working Group should email by May 9, 2014.  Please include the phrase Radio Interoperability Best Practices in your email response subject line and include your name, agency/organization, and contact phone number.

- People, Places & Things/ (via NPSTC, 4/29/14)



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