Every 23 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. According to an NFPA report, there was an estimated 1.4 million fires in the United States.
Radio communication plays a critical role in ensuring efficiency during such emergencies.
The average response time for fire-related emergencies for residential buildings was 9 minutes and 59 seconds in 2018/2019.
The destructive nature of fire can burn down most communication channels and avenues. Making conventional communication methods ineffective in that critical moment.
Two-way portable radios work by transmitting and receiving electronic, magnetic waves as a current.
Hence they don’t require complicated technology to function, making them great for fire-related emergencies. In this post, we discuss why radio communication is important for fire services.
Modern firefighters prefer to use fire radios to communicate in the event of a tragic fire. Without proper communication gadgets, chances of surviving a fire are significantly lower.
Imagine a scenario where you are in the wild. Your smartphone has no charge, and you have a clear line of sight to the source of a fire. A fire radio can become handy for communicating to the firefighters regarding changes in the fire activity.
There are many scenarios where fire radios can save lives. This involves early warnings or effective communication.
Types of Fire Radio Communication
Fire radios come in different types to serve specific situations. The type of radio made for wildfires has some minor differences from a fire radio meant for residential fire emergencies.
Wildfire radios are mostly designed for long-range communications. On the other hand, fire department radios are designed for strong communication channels.
Radios used in the fire service fall into the following categories: Mobile, portable, or fixed, which have to be either analog or digital. Fire radios can further be categorized as trunked, repeated, or direct radios.
We will discuss each type of radio and its best features.
This type of radio is meant to be mounted on a vehicle and receives its power from a vehicle’s electrical system. Depending on personal preference, the radio can either be one or two-way design with the radio itself separate from the controls.
An external antenna is permanently mounted on a vehicle and connects directly to the radio. Mobile radios have better receivers and transmitters than portable radios.
In contrast to mobile radios. Portable radios are hand-held and use replaceable or rechargeable batteries. An external rubber antenna is placed on top of the radio to receive and transmit electromagnetic currents.
Due to their small size, portable radios are less powerful than mobile radios but are still effective for fire services.
However, the two radios share similarities in essential functions. They allow users to change channels, transmit data and adjust speaker volume. For fire and police use, the radios have a red button for emergency channels.
Base Station Radios
These types of radios are found in fixed locations. Base station radios get power from an AC utility power source. They are typically stronger than mobile and portable radio models .
They are more stable transmitters and sensitive interface-resistant receives.
By now, every fire department has a base station radio to provide enhanced wide coverage through the entire area they serve.
Fire department radios also provide backup communication in case there is a failure in the main communication system.
Did you know that the human voice is an example of an analog signal? It has a continuous varying level and frequency. Analog radios in use today were designed in the 1930s using frequency modulation (FM) to regulate a user’s voice through a signal.
The radios function by making the transmitting frequency change directly with the microphone audio. For some time, wildfire radios were made analog using tone-coded squelch (TCS).
When the radio receives a signal that is TCS, the TSC decoder tries to match the tone available in the received signal with the desired tone. If the right tone is present, the audio is routed to the speaker after the receiver is unsquelched.
To improve on the deficiencies of analog radios, manufacturers introduced digital radios. This enhanced the spectrum and quality efficiency. Advancement to digital products was also pushed by FCC regulations.
It requires manufactures to continue narrow banding. Since their inception, digital radios have proved to have better audio clarity, more user feature, and higher spectrum efficiency.
The radio works by sampling speech from a microphone; then, it assigns the sample a digital value.
A voice coder or codec within the radio converts the analog audio to a digital data packet that varies depending on the number of bits.
The higher the number of bits, the more precise the sample becomes. Furthermore, the major reason digital radios exist is to reduce static and increase the range of radio in weak signal areas.
Trunked, Repeated and Direct Radios
The way radios communicate is a transmitter will send out a signal. The signal broadcasts to a single or multiple receiving radios.
If the signal is received from the radio that originally transmits the signal, the communication is known as direct. So direct radios receive signals from the original broadcasting radio without an intervening system or radio system.
Repeaters are similar to fixed base station radios. The main difference is that they can transmit and receive at the same time. Repeaters are used to extend coverage for mobile and portable radios by most fire departments.
Get Quality Radio Communication From Trusted Manufactures and Suppliers
For fire departments looking to acquire radio communication. Understanding the type of radio that best suits your services is a critical decision if you want to be more efficient.
Fire department radios should be fixed so they can serve large areas with high-quality signals. Wildfire radios should be mobile or portable with direct communication from a base station.
At BK fire radios, we manufacture and supply all types of fire radios and accessories. We also fire radio servicing where necessary and rapid development for any purchases from our shop.
Visit our website to request quote for our products and services. You can also view our wide inventory of fire-related products and accessories.