room and asked them to communicate with each other. After a half hour of trying they
had failed. Unfortunately, that’s essentially what’s happening in some fire departments,
he warned. Fire fighters are being handed radios without being trained to use them.
(IAFF, 2001, p.2).
“Our communications are mission-critical. Our communications need to work 100
percent of the time,” he told workshop participants. “Anything less is unacceptable. The
lives of not only our fire fighters, but also the public depend on it” (IAFF, 2001, p.2).
According to Captain Mike Worrell of the Phoenix, Arizona fire department he
stated that “in the aftermath of September 11th, many questions have arisen about
communications difficulties that were encountered. Reading many of the articles the term
communications was not limited to radio technology. Many communications were
procedural and operational. Since we (at Phoenix Fire) are in the midst of a large-scale
radio system change, the communications problems encountered in New York City were
looked at from a radio technology standpoint (Worrell, 2002, p.1).
He further states that, in March 2001, the Fire Department of New York made an
attempt to switch to newer digital technology. While these radios were digital, they were
not trunked. The department remained on their old frequencies but switched to digital
radios. This can be likened to switching from analog cell phone service to digital. The
department did minimal training, and the radios acted differently then the old analog
radios. Since the users had minimal training, they were not aware of some of the
operating characteristics of the new radios. Users soon complained of poor
communications. After one week in the field, the digital radios were pulled from service.