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STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTING AN 800MHz RADIO SYSTEM IN THE PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY ... - page 17 / 54

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17

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    All firefighters should be provided with portable radios so that they can communicate during an emergency.

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    More channels are needed to support operational communications at the scene.

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    A lack of adequate in-building coverage can prevent reception of critical communications between firefighters.

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    Firefighters from different companies who respond to incidents have limited interoperability.

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    A mobile command post can help improve fireground communications and resolve some interoperability problems (Siegle and Murphy, 2001, p.

    • 4)

      .

Seven years ago the Baltimore City Fire Department met with Mayor Kurt L.

Schmoke to make the case for a new communications system. The transition to the new

system began with the mayor’s approval to hire a consultant to identify the specific needs

of city agencies and the technological options. He made the commitment to involve the

agencies that would use the system in its design. The mayor recognized that

communications needs differed among city agencies, sometimes dramatically (Torres,

1999, p.1).

According to Mr. Torres, the city was realistic in developing the implementation

plan. Particular attention was paid to financing, because sophisticated communications

technology isn’t cheap. The city realized it couldn’t implement a city-wide system at one

time, so implementation would need to be done in phases. “We structured the

communications system as a capital project that we would complete over four years,”

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