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STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTING AN 800MHz RADIO SYSTEM IN THE PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY ... - page 19 / 54

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jurisdiction’s radio system for the duration of the incident. Two factors played heavily

into the selection of the radio system. Coverage was the number one concern, and

interoperability with neighboring jurisdictions to simplify communications during mutual

aid incidents was a close second,” say Nichols (Lee, 1999, p.2).

“We have formed a mutual aid interoperability working group,” explains Nichols,

“and all six fire chiefs have agreed to certain rules and procedures to take optimum

advantage of the system. We’ve renumbered our apparatus and assigned specific

channels and explicit policies so that the system will operate seamlessly” (Lee, 1999,

p.3).

The August 1994 edition of Emergency Medical Services magazine featured an

article on amateur radio operators. Generally considered to be nuisances, there is a group

that the authors of the article, “Are There Amateurs at Your Disaster?” consider valuable.

Kenneth Phillips, Charles Steward, and Ronald Deutsch state that “there’s one group of

amateurs you should welcome at your disaster site: amateur radio operators – hams in

their lingo – who are often more professional and better equipped than the best of

professionals themselves” (Phillips, Steward, Deutsch, 1994, p.35).

In the May 2002 Public Safety Communications, APCO Bulletin, Tom Gibson

authored an articled titled “Using Amateur Radio Operators for Emergency

Communications,” he stated, “Since the completion of the Limerick Generating Station in

Limerick Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the Montgomery County Radio

Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) organization has been integrated into the

response procedures for an emergency arising from an event occurring at this plant. Three

communications channels are provided for in the plan: RACES, Office of Emergency

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