Lisa MacGillivray

Lisa MacGillivray is Marketing Director at Chicago Communications.

Recent Posts

Preparing for the Emergency Response System of the Future

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Thursday, August 17, 2017

When people talk about the emergency response system of tomorrow, the predictions are breathtaking: firefighting drones, human-operated robots, real-time 3-D simulations and more.

While some of that may sound more like science fiction than a real possibility – especially given the budgetary and resource concerns facing public safety – there are sound emergency communications investments that departments can make today to prepare for tomorrow.

Let’s take a look at ways that public safety can prepare for the emergency response system of the future.

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Tags: Public Safety Communications

International Phonetic Alphabet Use Beyond Two-Way Radios

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The international phonetic alphabet, which we’ll use to refer to the NATO phonetic alphabet, is not only one of the oldest elements of two-way  radio lingo, it’s one of the most universal.

The development of the police phonetic alphabet and military phonetic alphabet demonstrate the widespread utility for public safety and government, particularly over two-way radios, but there are multiple uses for civilian situations, too.  

Here are some examples of how the international phonetic alphabet has taken off – in some cases, quite literally.

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Tags: Public Safety Communications

Improving School Bus Safety with Two-Way Radios

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Understandably, much of the focus on school safety involves what happens to students when they’re on campus, but what about school bus safety? Among the tools for keeping millions of students, coaches, teachers and drivers safe on buses every day, two-way radios are at the top of the list.

For a variety of reasons, two-way radios are an ideal communications solution for school safety in general, and transportation in particular.

Let’s look at some of the ways to enhance school bus safety with two-way radios.

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Tags: Two Way Radios, Education

Are Ten Codes a Thing of the Past for Public Safety?

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ten codes, also known as 10 codes, are an important and enduring element of radio lingo, much like the main phonetic alphabet, police phonetic alphabet, and other radio-specific terms. Thanks to popular culture, even people who don’t use two-way radios are familiar with codes such as “10-4,” meaning “affirmative." (If you've ever visited our offices, you've likely heard these terms in use, particularly if you overheard a conversation with Shop Supervisor Emory Ludtke.)

Despite their pervasiveness in multiple industries and law enforcement, codes and other lingo are fading among certain radio users, leading some to wonder: Are ten codes a thing of the past for public safety? Let's take a look whether that's true, and why or why not.

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Tags: Two Way Radios, Chicago Communications, Public Safety Communications, Interoperability

Decoding Public Safety Culture: The Police Phonetic Alphabet

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Like other forms of radio lingo such as 10 codes, the police phonetic alphabet grew out of a need for users to communicate quickly, clearly and without ambiguity.

The alphabet endures today not only because of its utility but because of its significant role in public safety culture – it’s hard to imagine officers communicating without it.

Let’s take a quick look at the history of the police phonetic alphabet and its role in public safety.

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Tags: Two Way Radios, Public Safety Communications

School WiFi and Beyond: The Critical Role of Technology in Education

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Thursday, July 27, 2017

In the not too distant past, administrators and educators didn't have to worry about things like connecting students and teachers to school WiFi – school supplies came in boxes and filmstrips were considered high-tech. 

When computers and other technology did initially become available, they were shared by students, teachers and administrators alike in group computer labs, and getting time on a computer was a challenge.

Today, of course, it’s hard to imagine educational settings without individual access to computers, tablets, laptops and lightning fast school WiFi. It’s worth taking a closer look at the critical role technology in schools plays, from school safety to campus communication, and how your campus can stay connected.

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Tags: Wireless Communication, Education

The Most Common 10 Codes: What They Mean and Where They Came From

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Once you start using two-way radios, you quickly realize that mastering the equipment isn’t enough: there’s radio lingo to remember, too, including 10 codes and various versions of the phonetic alphabet.

Like the police phonetic alphabet, military phonetic alphabet and radio-specific terms, the codes were developed to help radio users communicate quickly and concisely under tough conditions.

To help you get started on your journey of learning radio lingo, here’s a look at the most common 10 codes and what they mean.

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Tags: Two Way Radios, Public Safety Communications

The Critical Role of Two-Way Radios in Disaster Response

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

It’s almost impossible to imagine a successful disaster response operation without two-way radios. Radios are the lifeline of emergency communications, ensuring seamless connections, instant updates and collaboration, as well as unmatched reliability during times when cell phone towers can become overloaded.

Two-way radios, through both internal features and functionality as well as applications and accessories, bolster first responder communications for everyday use and during disasters.

Let’s take a closer look at the critical role of two-way radios in disaster response with an overview of the attributes that make them indispensable.

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Tags: Two Way Radios, Public Safety Communications, Digital Two-Way Radios

The Alpha Bravo Charlies of the Two-Way Radio Phonetic Alphabet

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Monday, July 17, 2017

The phonetic alphabet, or spelling alphabet, is one of the most universally recognized pieces of two-way radio lingo, and its history reveals a lot about the evolution of wireless technology and international cooperation.

If you’ve ever had to spell, then respell, then spell again a series of letters over a phone or two-way radio, you can understand why the spelling alphabet was developed. Many letters sound the same, and rather than risk miscommunication during mission critical transmissions and wartime broadcasts, officials adopted a universal set of words to represent letters.

For those of you curious about the history and usage over time, here’s a rundown of the Alpha Bravo Charlies (ABCs) of the two-way radio alphabet.

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Tags: Two Way Radios, Public Safety Communications

The Benefits and Challenges of NG911

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The promise of next generation 911, or NG911, is exciting: Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) will gain access to updated wireless communications technology – including text, video and enhanced location services – that bridges the gap between first responders and the communities who rely on them.

The 9-1-1 network has come a long way since it was created decades ago, but it still has far to go. Mark Fletcher does a good job of summarizing the progress of the 9-1-1 network in this article, where he writes “Today’s E911 network handles more than 240 million calls per year. But its archaic architecture of routing callers based on telephone numbers gets outmoded the more that technology advances.”

It was because of this problem with outdated emergency communications that the Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) solution was developed, an evolving system that has had its own share of benefits and challenges over time.

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Tags: Public Safety Communications, Next Generation Public Safety, Safety Solutions