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STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTING AN 800MHz RADIO SYSTEM IN THE PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY ... - page 32 / 54

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operational procedure for operating outside of the county out of range of our dispatcher

will have to be developed.

The interview questions listed in Appendix D were developed to solicit input from

the surrounding jurisdictions about their radio systems and how they transitioned to the

800 MHz system. Local radio “experts” were interviewed to solicit their opinions also.

Their responses to the questions can be seen in Appendix E. Eleven interviews were

conducted, eight by telephone and three in person. A total of eight neighboring

jurisdictions were contacted.

Fairfax County, Arlington County, Alexandria City, Fairfax City and Loudoun

County all currently have implemented 800 MHz radio systems. Fauquier County plans

to implement their 800 MHz radio system by December 2003. Stafford County, which

has a 450 MHz system and the Quantico Marine Corp Base Fire Department, which has a

140 MHz system, do not have plans to switch to an 800 MHz radio system.

The interviewees overwhelmingly agreed that interoperability and coverage were

the two major concerns of fire service radio communications. While no vendor will

guarantee 100 percent coverage, the vendor for Prince William County is offering 95

percent or better coverage. Of the departments who have implemented 800 MHz radio

systems they overwhelmingly agreed that training is the key to success in implementing

any system. Those who have had difficulty attribute a lack of sufficient training as the

main reason.

Resistance to change, accepting change and change in general were also major

issues they encountered associated with transitioning to an 800 MHz system.

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