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STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTING AN 800MHz RADIO SYSTEM IN THE PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY ... - page 22 / 54

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[Editor’ note: and 97 percent for digital] by contract, and commit to installing bi-

directional amplifiers in those buildings where testing reveals communications to be

problematic. These kinds of improvements must be completed before the system is used

for emergency situations where firefighters’ lives are on the line” (Dittmar, 2002, p. 55).

William Goldfeder, battalion chief of the Loveland-Symmes (OH) Fire District

states, “It is critical that radios work well under the worst conditions. Make sure those

specifying your radios cross every “t” and dot every ‘i’ to ensure your safety. It is worth

the time. If you don’t, you are losing before the game even starts” (Dittmar, 2002, p. 61).

Goldfeder continues: “Make sure the system is working before is it accepted and, even

before that, make sure the specifications fully match firefighters’ requirements and needs.

Make the manufacturers prove it, and not to some ‘suit’ in the budget office. Consider

using your most experienced company fire officers (field officers, not the training bureau

or other who don’t use the system under the toughest conditions), and have them

participate in the testing of the system. They know where the system will be stressed and

needed, the toughest spots, the deepest basements, the highest floors, the most remote

rural areas, and so on. We are talking about a radio system that will be firefighters’

lifeline. It must be designed with that in mind” (Dittmar, 2002, p. 61).

Ms. Dittmar reported that a fire department should develop positions on the

project committee so its members can serve as department advocates (Dittmar, 2002, p.

68).

In Phoenix, Anderson says research has shown that a lack of user input and

involvement directly lead to problems. Each department needs to have full-time

representatives who can track the project, participate in decision making, and forecast

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