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Author Topic: Agencies with their own comms teams  (Read 4170 times)

Posts: 86

« on: November 13, 2011, 06:04:56 PM »

One of our local fire districts, a combination paid/volunteer department, has a division for search and rescue. All volunteer, the S&R group has specialists in equine S&R, canine S&R and large animal rescue. They also have a communications team that handles all communications needs on scene.

The communications team is also utilized by the fire district when their large command vehicle, funded in large part by Homeland Security, is requested. The command vehicle is a behemoth truck outfitted with all sort of communications equipment, commercial/public safety and amateur bands, and is supposed to be for the use of requesting agencies within about 15 or 20 counties in two states, plus other areas as needed.

For their S&R ops they usually use encrypted systems on the public safety side. They also use various local, regional, state and national frequencies, as authorized by the fire district and the ICs of the various incidents. This team is used pretty regularly.

Most members also belong to a group called "Volunteer Communications," (I suspect they just needed a name for the FCC) who do the public service work at many local parades, fairs, etc. -- the kind of stuff that hams do elsewhere. For those events they use a commercial band system.

Many team members are licensed amateurs, although most got their licenses as part of their work for the team. Many have GROLs or other commercial licenses. The ham licenses allow them the flexibility if necessary, but their public safety system is pretty thorough. I doubt any have taken the Intro to Emcomm course through the ARRL or are even members of the ARRL, let alone ARES or RACES.

In many ways, it's similar to an ARES or a RACES group but they use primarily public safety bands.

I'm wondering if other areas have a similar group. I can't help but think they prevent local ham groups from being considered for public service work -- not that it's a bad thing.


Posts: 165

« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2011, 02:57:39 AM »

We have communication jump teams in South Florida that deploy with our EDICS trailers and portable systems.
A high number, incluiding myself, are FEMA COML's, and we are in the process of training the COMT's with a similiar FEMA certification.

Even though most of the DHS $ is drying up, we still think outside the box to keep our staff trained and equipment operational.
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