explains Finance Director William Brown, “that enabled us to implement the system in
clearly defined, logical phases we could afford” (Torres, 1999, p.2).
“A team driven process the road from the first brainstorming meetings to actual
system implementation has been long, and it still continues. Teamwork, and the creativity
that comes from groups dedicated to a common goal, has been the factor that has most
distinguished this project” (Torres, 1999, p.2).
Fire Chief Mike Merwick explains that the Lincoln Fire Department has a 20
channel, two-site simulcast with pc-based consoles and a Global Positioning System
feature that synchronizes the timing of the two radio sites. Although he doesn’t believe
that mobile data terminals are that beneficial for control or suppression in this size area,
he does expect the digital AVL to be a great help. “The system is not designed, but
evolves, to serve the needs of the biggest users.” Merwick says. “We, as firefighters,
have never felt shorted with technology or attention from those planning installation and
upgrades. The Users’ Committee has representation from all agencies: police, sheriff and
fire. The system works well for us.” He also points out that each of his firefighters is
assigned a portable radio to carry on the fireground in a vest pocket on the turnout coat
(Lee, 1999, pp.1-2).
Planning breeds interoperability in Fairfax County, Virginia according to Captain
Paul Nichols. The new system, which was designed with the help of communication
consultants, is to be fully operational by the fourth quarter of this year. All of the radios
from participating jurisdictions will be programmed with each other’s fireground
operational talk groups. Units responding on a mutual aid call will be assigned a
communications channel from the controlling dispatch center; they then simply enter that