On June 30th, 2013 nineteen Wildland Firefighters lost their lives while fighting to contain the Yarnell Hill Fire. This event was one of the biggest tragedy fires in recent history.
Fire radios are the best tools that modern firefighters have at their disposal to reduce the chance of tragic fires. Without proper communications, survivability in a fire situation cannot be ensured.
Wildland Fire radios allow firefighters to make tactical decisions, but they also save lives. Without them modern firefighting as we know it could not exist.
Top Scenarios Where Fire Radios Save Lives
Being a Wildland Firefighter is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. You need all the tools to save lives you can get so your buddies come home safe. The following tactical scenarios are ones where a radio could save a life.
Helps Lookouts Communicate Impending Doom
Imagine, you are perched high atop a bluff with a clear line of sight overlooking an active wildfire. You are the lookout and are responsible for giving your fellow firefighters a heads up for any change in fire activity.
You notice that the wind shifts and starts to increase fire activity. How can you get the message across in time to save lives? Only through the disciplined use of your fire radio.
Calling Out Hazards
If you just hiked through a hazardous piece of ground, your fire radio allows you to give adjacent crews a heads up. Hazards are commonplace on Wildland Fires, and with your fire radio, you can help others avoid them.
Establishing and Maintaining LCES
LCES stands for Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, and Safety Zones. It is the backbone philosophy of modern Wildland Firefighting. Without a reliable radio, establishing LCES is much more difficult.
You would be left with only mirror flashes and word-of-mouth commands when engaging the fire. Many would perish if we still used such primitive methods to fight wildfires.
Emergency Communication With Aircraft
You can use your fire radio to communicate with nearby aircraft on your incident if you get stuck in a bad situation. Their perspective from the air may be better than yours on the ground.
Many firefighters have been led out of tricky situations by a helicopter. This is only possible with the use of a fire radio.
Deployment and Near-Death Scenarios
You are stuck in an entrapment situation with fire on all sides of you. Thick smoke obscures your vision and you struggle to breathe. You deploy your fire shelter to avoid burning.
In this painful and disoriented state, your fire radio is your only source of communication with the outside world. It serves both tactical and mental purposes.
If you deploy you can still communicate with other resources as you ride out the terrible situation. This connection with other living humans might be the mental boost you need to survive or the tactical one you need to escape.
How Fire Radios Make Fires Safer
The more tactically sound a fire engagement strategy is, the safer it will be for personnel. The only way to have solid tactics on a fire is to establish reliable communications.
Adequate communications make fires safer for firefighters. By having safer fires more men and women make it home back to camp alive at the end of each shift. Here’s how fire radios make fires safer overall.
Help Chain of Command Flow Fluidly
Squad Bosses need to be able to talk to their squad. Crew Bosses need to be able to talk to their Squad Bosses. Task Force Leaders need to be able to communicate with all of the crews on the fire.
This chain of command extends up to the Incident Commander. Fire radios allow this all to happen. Without good communications on all levels, the chain of command could never function well.
Give Resources a Voice
Even a first-year firefighter has an important opinion about the fire environment around them. A fire radio in every hand allows individuals to make important observations known to everyone.
Allow for Reliable Tactical Discourse
The most reliable and trusted fire radios are Bendix King radios. Their portable handheld units are the standard-issue equipment for all field-going fire personnel.
These radios can withstand tons of abuse and still perform. They allow firefighters to discuss tactics while in rigorous environments under arduous conditions. Good tactics save lives.
Help With Medical Scenarios
If someone gets injured on a fire, having strong radio communications is paramount in saving their life. Medical personnel must be able to communicate with firefighters about the location and condition of the patient.
This is only possible if both parties have access to a fire radio and know how to use them. The more people on fires that have access to a radio, the quicker EMS can activate and save a life.
Fire Radios Help All Jurisdictions of Firefighter
From the county to the federal level, a fire radio can help all jurisdictions of firefighters save lives. BK radios have multiple different channels and frequencies.
Different resources can clone their radio frequencies to another’s radio to establish seamless interagency communication. This will help save lives by eliminating any friction between agencies.
Use Your Radio to Stay Safe and Alive
Fire radios are one of the most important pieces of equipment Wildland Fire personnel have to keep themselves safe and alive. Without them, many more lives would be lost each year while combating wildfires.
If you are an agency leader, Crew Boss, or firefighter of any level and need some top-quality fire radios, contact us today for a quote. We can handle all of your fire radio needs.
That way, you can get the best equipment and ensure that your firefighters come home safe to live another day. They deserve nothing less.