Tips and best practices

Fighting fire – Top radio communication tips for every firefighter

Your radio is your critical lifeline in a hazardous situation, and a trusted tool. Every day you use it and it serves you well. But are you pushing it to the max, the way your job demands your best? Here are five tips to help you get more from your radio.

1. Get your radio ready for you

It may not be practical to give everyone a personal radio of their own. This is where Aliasing comes in. This feature gives you that personal radio experience even though you pick one at random from a common pool at the beginning of the shift.

When you report for duty, simply pick up one of the radios and enter your personal number. This sets the radio to work with all your rights, priorities, talk groups and other information assigned to that radio. It is your personalised radio for the time you are on duty.

Aliasing is an integral feature in TETRA networks and radios from Airbus.

2. Use scanning with confidence

In old analogue systems, you could talk only to the selected group and could not listen to a group that was not selected. TETRA, in contrast, allows scanning – following several talk groups at once. This is really useful if you need to follow communications in two different groups, such as the communications in your field team and in another group for task management.1796.jpg

Further, TETRA systems from Airbus employ active scanning, which prevents a user from listening to any groups they are not authorised for. Active scanning brings you a cool benefit too – you can keep scanning the regular groups even when they are on the move, without creating additional load on the system.

Check whether the TETRA system you are using is from Airbus. If it is, there’s no need to carry two radios to be able to listen and talk to two groups! What’s more, an Airbus radio with the Dual PTT key will give the best convenience to communicate in several groups.

3. Critical messages will make noise

There may be quiet times even when you are on duty. You do not need to keep checking your radio for tasks if you are working as backup and you can even turn it to silent mode. If you are needed, the emergency dispatch will send you a Unit Alert, which will turn your radio into a loud, vibrating alert device. You will notice it!

You can also send a Unit Alert from your own radio, if you need to make sure that your communication is noticed.

4. Don’t spoil your eyes

Working at night or in the dark brings its own special challenges. Of course, you can use radios from Airbus most of the time without looking, but what about when you need to see something on the radio screen? You need to see the information at a glance, yet you do not want to spoil your “night eyes”.

No worries! TETRA radios from Airbus also have a feature called Night Vision. This switches the screen to a darker and less aggressive colour scheme. It also lowers the brightness, while its lack of glare makes it much more user friendly.

Simply select it from the ‘Go to’ menu or through a long press of a shortcut key.

5. Make data work for you

Data can be used in surprising ways to help operations. For example, an emergency response centre sends an alarm to a rescue service station about a fire, using a standard status message.

The station’s command and control application is configured to forward the status message to the application controlling the garage equipment at the fire station. The application opens the fire station doors, turns on the lights, starts the exhaust fans and even switches on the traffic lights in front of the fire station.

The fire fighters only need to get dressed, jump into the fire trucks and they are ready.

If you use a TETRA system from Airbus, you enjoy the benefit of two-way messaging, opening up many ways to use data and create innovative, mission critical applications.

Most of these benefits come directly from the fact that Airbus radios work in a synergistic way with Airbus TETRA networks – in this case, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts.

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