even if it occurs once in the lifetime of a system – could be fatal. Therefore, the concepts
of a backup plan, a plan B, redundancy, preplanning, training and even innovation are as
critical to successful fireground communications as to other fireground functions. But,
this does not mean that you cannot achieve successful fireground communications”
(Dittmar, 2002, p.55).
“Even though 100 percent radio propagation (which is statistical in nature) is
impossible to achieve, the on-scene commander should always be able to talk to the
firefighters at the end of the hose or in the structure with a short range (fireground)
channel,” says Frederick G. Griffin, P.E., president of the Frederick G. Griffin, P.C.,
consulting firm based in Lynchburg, Virginia (Dittmar, 2002, p.55).
When beginning the process of searching for or designing a communications
system, it might help to begin with realistic expectations (Dittmar, 2002, p. 55). “If you
approach the implementation of a digital-based system methodically and without trying
to apply analog experiences and expectation to the process, the transition to this
technology can be made far less complicated,” says John M. Buckman, chief of the
German Township (IN) Volunteer Fire Department in Evansville, Indiana, and president
of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (Dittmar, 2002, p. 55).
“Often, the assumption is that a fire department has 100 percent coverage with the
system that is being replaced,” observes Leif Anderson, captain, technical services,
Phoenix (AZ) Fire Department. “There is not a single fire service radio system today that
has 100 percent coverage,” he says. “Firefighters know of many places within their city
where they cannot talk with a fire radio.” As Anderson sees it, “… fire departments need
to design a modern system for exceptional coverage, at least 95 percent for analog