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

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

The Importance of Updated Emergency Communications Equipment

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Thursday, July 6, 2017

In both emergencies and daily life alike, updated communications systems are mission critical to saves lives, protect property and preserve communities. During natural disasters, large crime scenes or every day incidents, an effective emergency response system requires swift and reliable communications.

Public safety agencies and first responders rely on strong communications for today’s needs and as they prepare for the exciting future promise of Next Generation 9-1-1, or NG911, to catch up to consumer technology. All while they’re battling budgetary and resource constraints.

As technology continues to evolve, both in public safety and beyond, the importance of updated emergency communications equipment becomes even more clear.

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Tags: Public Safety Communications, Interoperability, Safety Solutions

Firefighter Equipment Trends in Communications and Beyond

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Firefighter equipment has come a long way since the days when leather helmets and uniforms were the most durable options available, and portable radios for firefighters were either unheard of or few and far between.

Today, technology and data are driving rapid change, from GPS-enabled gear to specialized two-way radios that allow personnel to communicate in the toughest – and loudest – conditions. 

As advancements continue, here are several predictions for firefighter equipment trends in communications and beyond, with a focus on what we’ll see more of.

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Tags: Public Safety Communications

The Critical Role of the Dispatch Center for First Responders

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

First responders are life savers and providers of help in often dangerous situations. So it's easy to think of them as operating on their own or just with a partner. 

In reality, the dispatch center communicating with a first responder connects them to a whole team of other individuals and systems that are critical to doing their job. When first responders speak to a dispatch center with their mobile or two-way radios, they're bringing a whole public safety team with them.

When police, emergency medical, and fire units communicate with each other, the various channels of communication technology need to be centralized so that a single trained professional can follow protocols and deploy the right resources to handle the specific emergency at hand.

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Tags: Public Safety Communications

Must-Have Features in a Firefighter Radio

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The secret to finding the perfect firefighter radio is simple: Shop for features first. Given the budget concerns facing public safety, the inclination is to shop for what you think the department can afford rather than what’s required.

But what will serve you best in the long run is to select your two-way radios by functionality, not price. A high-quality device will carry a larger price tag but will also deliver more of what firefighters need most. More expensive radios also have longer lifespans and require less maintenance, costing less in the long run.

Let’s take a look at some must-have features in a firefighter radio.

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Tags: Public Safety Communications

How the Fire Helmet Camera Has Improved Firefighter Working Conditions

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

First responders such as law enforcement and paramedics have always relied on modern communications technology to carry out their day-to-day duties. In recent years, upgrades have been occurring rapidly, with initiatives such as FirstNet creating more of a technology imperative. Departments are finding ways to integrate the technology they need even in the context of budget constraints facing public safety communications.

Firefighters, however, have been somewhat slower to adopt cutting-edge technology, partly as a result of the specific conditions under which firefighter equipment needs to function.

This has been changing, however, and one of the newer pieces of equipment designed for the firefighting job is the fire helmet camera. Fire and rescue helmets are essential safety equipment and the addition of cameras opens new possibilities to fire departments on how to improve the safety and effectiveness of their personnel.

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Tags: Public Safety Communications