Why the Two-way Radio is a Critical Lifeline Under Fire? With Using Tips
17 Aug. 2016 Information
We feel sorry for Blue Cut Fire in Cajon Pass and hope everything will be fine as soon as possible. Here we would like to explain why the two-way radio is a critical lifeline under fire and introduce some using tips under emergency. We hope we can offer some help via this article.
Two-way radios are a critical safety feature, especially in today's environment when fire personnel and other emergency responders must be alert to more dangerous and hazardous homeland security-related issues than in the past. They must perform in the most extreme environments. They must be as tough as nails as well as safe, easy and efficient to use. They certainly can't take a firefighter's mind off the mission at hand.
Fortunately, advances in communication and digital technology are helping develop and deliver sophisticated radios that, for firefighters, are more intuitive and glove-friendly, significantly louder, and clearer. Indeed, firefighters' specific needs are taken into account as most new two-way radios are being planned.
Here's what fire personnel say matters most:
A louder radio for clear communications in high-noise situations, including the ability to be clearly understood while talking in such circumstances.
A larger display that can be viewed when looking down or at an angle.
Glove-friendly controls that are big, recognizable and easy to use.
A smaller-size multiband radio that is light.
Rugged, water-resistant construction.
To develop next-generation radios, researchers employ novel methods. They ride fire trucks; wear the gear; carry the equipment; and enter the smoke-filled, live-fire training environments. This full immersion in grasping typical fire-response behavior helps them model how firefighters throughout the world use their radios.
But the designers don't stop there. They study how firefighters actually act and react during varying extremes and how this differs from their daily routine. Some manufacturers use a multidisciplinary approach in creating their radios. They integrate concepts from industrial design, ergonomics, cognitive psychology, physical and cultural anthropology and clinical psychology.
This research and design process is truly interactive. One major manufacturer works with firefighters from early design stages to truly understand their needs and behaviors. They employ a variety of exercises, such as hands-on 3D Velcro modeling, which provides firefighters with the opportunity to express their preferences on features and physical characteristics.
This exploration and feedback lead to design ideas that later become prototypes for rigorous usability testing. This important learning stage allows designers to make key observations that turn into workable ideas and potential solutions.
All of this scientific research is imperative. In a room of intense heat and heavy smoke, fire personnel don't have time to search for the push-to-talk button or risk a burn to remove a glove to select a communications channel. What's more, designers recognize that high stress can "situationally disable" even the most experienced responder.
As a result, designers test, refine and retest their prototypes to ensure they've addressed firefighter requests - whether for better tactility with heavy gloves or for stiffer knobs that prevent accidental activation. This testing has led to distinct design changes by manufacturers.
One new model features a larger and more accessible emergency button placed at the base of the antenna so firefighters can locate it quickly. It also has a display that is double the normal size so responders can see the radio status and channel/zone information without removing the radio from their turnout gear. Other advanced features include a better, surer grip; a shielded push-to-talk button; and the ability to operate two radio bands seamlessly so firefighters can carry less equipment.
Improved voice clarity ranks as the highest priority with many firefighters, because noise interference has proven to be such a problem. Most fire scenes are noisy places, and that's why the clearness of radio voice communication is a critical issue. The Maple Bluff (Wis.) Fire Department in September (2010) tested various analog and digital radio systems as it prepared to purchase new radios. Firefighters found that next-generation vocoders best filtered out interfering noise that affects voice clarity and volume.
Fire responders know that their lives can depend on their radios. That's the reason they voice their needs and requests to radio manufacturers. And thanks to continual technology advances, engineers and designers constantly are improving their radios.
This approach of co-creation for developing new products with end-users helps improved solutions to reach the market. New generations of radios are safer, simpler to use, and place the technology in the background, allowing first responders to concentrate on the matter at hand - for safety's sake.
Here are some tips to use two-way radios to save lives under emergency:
You must be prepared.
If you are unfamiliar with two-way radios, take some time to learn how they function and what features your device offers (such as emergency alerts). When you’re getting trained on a new radio, insist on asking what you would do differently in an emergency.
When talking, less is more.
Be brief and efficient — know what you are going to say before talking into the microphone; otherwise you’ll tie up the channel while thinking of what to say. (Remember: When you use the push-to-talk button, you’re preventing other people from talking on the same frequency).
Don’t mind your manners.
While you must respect fellow users, you don’t have to be polite by saying “please” or “thank you.”
Repeat back information you receive to confirm that you heard correctly.
You have no privacy.
Remember that group conversations are not private on open channels — any other radio user within range can hear what you’re saying by tuning to your frequency. Actually, this is a big plus in emergency broadcasts and SOS situations where the operator wants to relay a message to as many people as possible.
Cell phones aren’t the answer in an emergency.
Communication is essential during a crisis.
With a little planning and preparation, two-way radios can help manage an appropriate emergency response, interface with first responders and save lives.
(Source: fireapparatusmagazine.com and bearcom.com)