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STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTING AN 800MHz RADIO SYSTEM IN THE PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY ... - page 18 / 54

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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

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