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Current status, knowledge gaps, and research needs pertaining to firefighter radio communication systems.

Frazier P; Hooper R; Orgen B; Hankin N; Williams J
NIOSH 2003 Sep; :1-142
Current firefighter communications systems were chosen more for mobility or availability of spectrum than for suitability to the job of providing robust, reliable communications into, from, and within structures. It is not surprising that they can fail to provide adequate communications in buildings, which are the most challenging of radio communication environments. The technologies discussed in this report offer the possibility to significantly improve radio communications in large structures as well as in basement and other below grade areas. But it also appears that one technology alone will not be sufficient. Combining technologies together to make a hybrid system may be necessary. A MANet system provides the firefighter the mobility he needs; when coupled with a PLC or MF communications system, a MANet system may provide coverage even into difficult areas where radio waves cannot penetrate. Enhancing technologies can be integrated into this hybrid system to give even further improvements. Many of the technologies considered in this report are undergoing commercial development at a fast pace. This promises to keep the underlying cost of the technology reasonable, although the special requirements of the fire service may impose additional costs. Commercial development should be encouraged, as the benefits of these technologies will improve fireground communications.
Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting-equipment; Fire-safety; Emergency-responders; Communications-equipment
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Purchase Order Report
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
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TriData Corporation, 1000 Wilson Boulevard, 30th Floor, Arlington, Virginia 22209
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division