These Radios Are Firefighter Equipment Built for and With Firefighters

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Firefighter equipment, particularly communications equipment, has countless jobs to do when it comes to protecting firefighters from hazards and keeping them safe, so nothing in the design can be left to chance. Their equipment needs to meet their unique needs for durability and enhance their ability to carry out their lifesaving duties.

In general, getting the right public safety equipment is a matter of priority, whether it’s radios for the field or consoles for dispatch. With that in mind, the unique needs of firefighters led Motorola Solutions to work with the firefighting community on the APX 8000XE Series of two-way radios and accessories.

“We felt, let’s invest, let’s really figure out what it is that firefighters need,” says Scott Richards of Industrial Design and Human Factors for Motorola Solutions.

In a launch video for the APX 8000XE radio and XE500 Remote Speaker Microphone, Richards says it was important to understand exactly what firefighters face.

 “What kind of environment are they in? What kind of challenges do they encounter? And let’s go and design a purpose-built series of devices and solutions.”

The APX 8000XE radio and the XE500 Remote Speaker Microphone have unique features tailored for the fireground, so let’s take a closer look at some of them.

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Tags: Public Safety Communications

What FirstNet Means for First Responders

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

So much of what is written these days about FirstNet has to do with the delays that have dogged the initiative since the very beginning and continue five years later. With all of the controversy, it’s easy to lose sight of why FirstNet was created in the first place and what it means for first responders.

Given the latest delays and the possibility for future uncertainty, it’s helpful to take a virtual step back to understand exactly what’s at stake for the country’s public safety communications.

The First Days of FirstNet

Congress created the First Responder Network Authority, or FirstNet, in February 2012 “to establish a nationwide broadband network for public safety.” Creation of the network was the final recommendation of the 9/11 Commission to connect police officers, firefighters and EMS providers and ensure as close to universal interoperability as possible.

The authority is led by a 15-member board with representatives from government, public safety and the wireless industry.   

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Tags: Public Safety Communications

Firefighter Training on Comms Equipment Is Critical, And Not That Hard

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Comprehensive firefighter training should cover all elements of the fireground, and that includes communications equipment. Today’s radios and accessories are more intuitive than ever, but that doesn’t mean first responders don’t need upfront and continuous training to ensure that they’re ready when it matters most.

In a “Fire Engineering” Training Minutes video on radios, fire service veteran Nicolas Martin says it best: “Communications are essential on any fireground, and radios are an essential part of communication.”

Firefighter training on communications equipment doesn’t have to be arduous, and a good mix of best practices – and practice – will make it easier than you think. Providing some basic information about how radios work and dispelling misconceptions can guide training and make it easier to implement.

Here are some firefighter training tips to keep in mind:

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Tags: Public Safety Communications

Will Next Generation 911 Meet its 2020 Goals?

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Monday, January 9, 2017

It’s been almost a year since a coalition of national 911 organizations formed with what they called an “aggressive but achievable” goal of transitioning all emergency call systems and call centers to next generation 911 by 2020. In the months since the coalition announced its intentions, progress has been made, but the question still remains: Will next generation 911 meet its 2020 goals?

We don’t have a crystal ball handy to answer that question, but we can offer some insight about what progress has been made recently and how far the experts say there is to go.

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Tags: Public Safety Communications

New Year's Resolutions To Strengthen Your Command Center

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

As we’re starting a new year, it’s a good time to ask yourself – and your agency: Is our command center stuck in the past? Your center has countless moving parts, all of which need to be properly maintained, serviced and upgraded. But budget concerns, higher-profile priorities and a shortage of resources may mean your upgrades keep getting put on the back burner.

The beginning of a new year offers the opportunity to put your command center front and center. Here are 5 new year’s resolutions to strengthen your command center:

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Tags: Public Safety Communications

6 Public Safety Blogs to Read In 2017

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Public safety blogs are a great way to keep up on the latest trends in technology for first responders, the new upgrades that are available and the innovative ways that agencies are using communications to keep communities safe.

The best public safety blogs represent a variety of perspectives and geographies, and they’re written by everyone from police chiefs to telecommunications executives. Many are updated frequently to keep readers consistently informed about public safety issues, and some of the ones we’ve compiled may be helpful gems that you’ve previously overlooked.

As we look forward to the new year, here are six public safety blogs to read in 2017:

Official Blog of the International Association of Chiefs of Police

With new posts several times a week, the blog of the IACP features insights on various aspects of policing, from community engagement to the group’s Benchmarking and Analytics Tool. It’s a good place to learn about what kinds of interventions and technology other agencies are using and have found to be successful.

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Tags: Public Safety Communications, Next Generation Public Safety

911 Communications Firm to Run National Emergency Address Database

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Monday, October 24, 2016

The 911 communications firm West’s Safety Services has been selected to develop and operate the 911 National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) platform, a move that brings the country’s first responders closer to better locating wireless customers who call 9-1-1 from indoors.

John Kearney, SVP & GM of West’s Safety Services, said in a statement that the company is “committed to developing new technologies for carriers that promise improved wireless location accuracy during a 9-1-1 emergency.”

“We agree with the FCC that providing a dispatchable address to our public safety partners is the ‘gold standard’ that the industry must pursue,” Kearney said. “We’re passionate about the NEAD project, which we believe will more effectively assist first responders in locating wireless callers.”

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Tags: Public Safety Communications, Next Generation Public Safety

Mobile Radio Interruptions Reduced With Motorola APX 8500

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Monday, September 26, 2016

Motorola Solutions has rolled out a new APX 8500 all-band mobile radio with a host of new features aimed at reducing interruptions in everything from voice communications to software upgrades.

Motorola Solutions rolled out the new radio at the recent Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) conference in Orlando, Fla. The new devices join the growing suite of Motorola mobile radios for business and public safety.
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Tags: Public Safety Communications, Motorola Solutions, Product Spotlight

Virtual Reality In Public Safety Command Centers

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Motorola Solutions is working to make virtual reality in public safety a reality for perhaps the not-too-distant future with cutting-edge technology that will give personnel at command centers the experience of being on the ground at incident scenes.

Motorola Solutions recently ran live demonstrations of the new technology at this year’s Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) convention in Orlando, Fla.

The immersive experience that was demonstrated makes use of new, existing and evolving technology including: virtual reality glasses, 360-degree cameras, body-worn cameras, head-mounted displays, drone cameras and eye interaction technology from a startup called Eyefluence.

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Tags: Public Safety Communications

5 Core Wireless Communication Solutions: With Video

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

As wireless communication solutions are constantly evolving, it’s a challenge to keep up with the latest and greatest devices and functionality. While it would be impossible to keep up with every update or product that’s made available, it is worthwhile to conduct an occasional appraisal of your existing systems -- and your current challenges -- to see if a boost, replacement or new investment makes sense. 

To help with your once-over of your equipment, systems and challenges, here are five core wireless communication solutions to keep in mind that you may need to deploy, upgrade or replace. (Bonus: Check out our latest video, below, to find out how Chicago Communications helps companies and agencies meet their comprehensive communications needs.)
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Tags: Two Way Radios, Chicago Communications, Public Safety Communications, Bi-Directional Amplifier, Maintenance/Installation/Service, Wireless Networking