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Thread: Fire Dept. Tests Radios in High-Rise Drill

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    Fire Dept. Tests Radios in High-Rise Drill

    Fire Dept. Tests Radios in High-Rise Drill

    by THE NEW YORK TIMES



    The Fire Department tested new hand-held radios yesterday as part of a drill involving about 100 firefighters in a high-rise, 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown.

    To test the radios, which operate on UHF, the department distributed them in Staten Island in August. They are believed to be better at penetrating buildings and are compatible with police radios.

    The department "will continue to test them as long as they can to make sure that in the future, if they are implemented, that there is no compromise of firefighters' safety," said Firefighter Jim Long, a department spokesman. "They are still testing. They are not going to implement them citywide until they are satisfied with all tests," he said.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/25/nyregion/25RADI.html

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    FDNY Officials Praise New Radio

    FDNY Officials Praise New Radio

    ............
    MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN
    Associated Press
    11-26-2002

    NEW YORK (AP) -- A powerful radio improvised from $1,000 worth of parts could help solve the widespread communication problems linked to firefighters' deaths in the World Trade Center collapse, fire officials say.

    The Fire Department is testing a prototype rigged from a personal-watercraft battery, a camera case and other widely available parts to correct high-rise communication problems that have vexed firefighters for years.

    The radios were built last spring by a captain in the department's research and development unit. They worked so well in recent tests that the Fire Department is expected soon to ask commercial manufacturers to submit bids for a mass-produced version.

    The experimental "post radios'' _ black boxes that are the size of a big lunchbox and weigh about 20 pounds each _ enable commanders to transmit vital messages through dozens of floors of high-rise buildings.

    The radio has a larger battery and broadcasts a signal 10 times more powerful than that of the handheld radios every firefighter carries.

    "We like the concept. Everyone is very excited,'' department spokesman Frank Gribbon said.

    Normally commanders use handhelds to communicate with other commanders and firefighters.

    The more powerful radios could be used by commanders at the scene of an emergency. A commander could use the radio to talk to another commander elsewhere in a high-rise building. That commander could then use his own powerful radio or his handheld to relay the message to his firefighters.

    The department has tried for years without success to guarantee that radio transmissions can reach firefighters in high-rise buildings, subway tunnels and other difficult locations.

    It sent hundreds of new, digital handheld radios into the field in early 2001 without extensive testing, only to pull them back later in the year after reports of widespread problems and a mayday call that went unheard during a Queens house fire.

    Then, with the old analog radios back in use on Sept. 11, many firefighters complained they never heard orders to evacuate the trade center's north tower before it collapsed, killing more than 100 of their colleagues.

    The cause of the trade center problems remains unclear. But the Sept. 11 problems led to calls for the installation of signal-boosting repeaters fixed in buildings and tunnels across New York. It has become clear, officials say, that such a system would take hundreds of millions of dollars and several years to install.

    In the meantime, the improvised system, which could cost as little as $50,000 to put in place citywide, has been performing well in dozens of field tests and about half a dozen elaborate drills, officials say.



    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...0&sectionId=46

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    FDNY inventor's radio has Bravest pumped up

    FDNY inventor's radio has Bravest pumped up


    By ALICE McQUILLAN
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    Thomas Edison has a soul mate in the FDNY.

    He's Capt. Mike Stein, a licensed electrician and plumber who has invented a radio that works in high-rise buildings and in subway tunnels.

    Stein tweaked the frequencies on a 40-watt mobile radio used in Fire Department vehicles. He hooked it to a Jet Ski battery and portable antenna, producing a powerful, 20-pound invention that works where other radios have failed.

    "Picture it as a big walkie-talkie, a very powerful one," said Stein, 45, of the FDNY's research and development team. "It gives you the ability to transmit long distances through steel and concrete."

    He put his invention in a portable waterproof camera case and dubbed it the "post radio" for use at fire command posts.

    It's meant to be used by chiefs to communicate between various command posts inside and outside tall buildings. Stein said his invention has worked with the help of repeater systems that boost transmission waves, and on its own.

    Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said the department is exploring ways to make Stein's invention comply with industry and worker-safety standards and then find a manufacturer to produce it.

    "I'm happy with the whole concept," said Scoppetta. "It showed a lot of creativity and ingenuity."

    Scoppetta said Stein's idea is part of an entire communications overhaul, begun after radio failures stymied communications during the Sept. 11 attacks.

    "This improvised radio represents movement in the right direction. At least on 9/11, with this, the chiefs would have been able to communicate on the command channel and give the order to get out," said Capt. John Dunne of the Fire Officers Association.

    Stein's invention is too bulky to replace the problematic hand-held FDNY radios that were shelved in March 2001 because of transmission problems. Those radios are being tested.

    Originally published on November 27, 2002



    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/loca...2p-36723c.html

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