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STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTING AN 800MHz RADIO SYSTEM IN THE PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY ... - page 14 / 54

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to get the radios into the hands of the firefighters. The commission stated that the core

problem was the failure of the fire department to properly train the firefighters about the

characteristics of the new digital technology. These radios were reprogrammed back to

the analog mode. The digital mode has not been utilized since March 2001 (Worrell,

2002, p.1).

It was also reported that communications were so poor that when a city engineer

said buildings were at risk of imminent collapse, a runner had to be sent to notify the

ranking fire chief. What was not mentioned is that the chief who received the report was

FDNY Chief Peruggia of the EMS Bureau. The EMS Bureau does not have the same

radios as the fire department. The other options the chief had were to send a runner or

obtain a fire department radio so that he could notify them of the buildings conditions.

This was an inter-operability problem between city departments (Worrell, 2002, p.1).

When the aircraft hit the World Trade Center, a radio repeater was destroyed.

This repeater had been installed on the tower to improve radio coverage in the area. This

resulted in diminished radio coverage. To what extent this contributed to loss of life can

only be guessed. It was reported that many did not hear the order to evacuate. The loss of

a repeater could be a contributing factor (Worrell, 2002, p.1).

The New York Times, on the web, reported that at the time of the World Trade

Center towers collapsed, the New York Fire Department had little idea how many

firefighters were inside and could not communicate with a Police Department helicopter

flying overhead. These and other shortcomings expose the need to reexamine emergency

response policies, Deputy Chief Charles R. Blaich told emergency management

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