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    Please offer your thoughts on the use of intrinsically safe radios

    Is the extra cost worth it?

    How do you maintain/ensure the radio is safe after use, being dropped, etc?
    Buckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
    "Everybody Goes Home"

    IACOJ 2003

  • #2
    The cost is not worth it. The radio is a pretty safe piece of equiptment. I wouldnt even consider intrinsically safe radios unless you work hazmat or in explosive environments(Mines, large grain processing plants...ETC) Personally, on the firescene, they are not needed
    Buck
    Assistant Chief/EMT-B

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    • #3
      I would agree with Frmboybuck. The extra cost is not worth it. If you're making an entry in to a possible flammable area, you should be inside a suit that can handle the possible flash fire (Dupont Reflector or ThermoPro) and put the radio inside the suit.
      Our team has UHF radios with the big PTT external button for the entry, back up, safety officer and team leader. The support personel use the cheap walk abouts from the local chain discount store. Our team command post can monitor and talk on both systems. This keeps the critcal comm. on a separate freq. than the chatter that can occur during an incident.
      As far as use after possible damage, that's what service contracts and insurance are for. Thouroughly check out the dealer that you get your radios from and ask about repair policies, loaners, etc. That why my team uses the walk abouts. They're cheap and if one gets damaged, we just go buy another pair for about $25. The UHF radios are under a service contract.
      Hope this helps you mtnfireguy.
      "Your spill is our thrill."

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      • #4
        I'm always intrigued with these discussions.If your radio is in a Level A suit,which is SUPPOSED to be vaporproof,then why a intrinsically safe radio? Oh,I know the proper technical reason but:In the suit it should be the same as operations in normal room air.Thoughts to ponder. T.C.
        Last edited by Rescue101; 10-12-2006, 02:16 PM.

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        • #5
          OK but not to sound retarded - but why not intrinsically safe radios??? OK so it should be inside a level A suit - how many jobs have you done in a level A in recent years? In the last 4 years as a full time tech I've had 1 level A job. But now I'll ask how many overturned tankers have I had with a large Gasoline spill??? I know I've had at least 6. Thermo Pro is only 2 years old and is only a level configuration that I've seen. I know I just purchased suits this past month but many other teams haven't considered the purchase yet. But I know turn out and tyvek F is available in large quantities. And well yes the radio might be inside the suit - no matter how much you tape it's not vapor tight. It's your life why not send the extra couple of bucks for the intrinsically safe. It doesn't even seem like your spending that much since your only buying radios for certain teams - entry, back up ect. We have an 800 MHz trunked radio system - and we provide an intrinsically safe radio with 2 intrinsically safe batteries for each member with a 2nd radio set up to the 3 supervisors. Our radios are easily $2000 a piece for a 15-member unit with spares in the office. Don't sell your self - Safety first - you'll find the additional money somewhere.

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          • #6
            Hehe,I knew that would stir up some debate.You bring up some good points but: You WON'T find me around a leaking overturned gas tanker with ANY radio,intrinsically safe or otherwise.Anything I have to do around one is within easy walking distance of the command post.While I envy your radio budget,it would buy our radios for five years,or perhaps more.If you have the resources to do what you're doing,more power to you.Certainly nothing wrong with the concept but I can count the numbers of times we've needed an explosion proof anything over the last 40 years and I'll bet I wouldn't use the fingers on both hands.I run a moderately sized towing operation in addition to doing Fire so we see some overturns.I just don't use electrical devices around them outside of metering devices and those are run by the Fire crews.We've got enough to think about rigging the tanker for recovery without lugging electronics once we've made the area "safe" to work in.My question to you is how do you make a gas tanker "safe"to work around when it's 100F outside? I don't know either and it seems that they wreck more frequently in high temps.T.C.

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            • #7
              Wow UCNJOEM5204, I wish I had that much money just to spend on radios, too! That over $30,000 is probably more than what my team will have for an operating budget for all of next tyear, if we're lucky. Our politicians cut our budget by over 40% for next year. It does not sound retarded to want to have the safest things for your people. It's just that some of us have to use what we can afford or are allowed to buy or have given to us by our State. If any one thinks that choice stinks, I would agree with you.
              FYI, the Dupont Thermopro suits are only available in Level B at this time, that I know of.
              Rescue101, I wish that gasoline tankers always rolled when it is warm out. The last one my team went to in a neighboring county, the wind chill was below 0F by the time we got out of there, and this was in April. Our entry people wanted to go in with level A just to keep warm.
              "Your spill is our thrill."

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              • #8
                MD,We get them in the winter too,but they don't get me as nervous at 0 degrees F as they do at 90 +. MDEP will not allow us to recover/upright them loaded,they pump them off and leave me a "bomb". And I hear ya on the wind chill but sometimes that can work to your advantage. Thankfully,we do about 10 fuel trucks to one gas "can".Fuel (oil) is MUCH easier to deal with.Often we recover these loaded which saves time and aggravation. And I think we're all in agreement on safety but distance will also provide that.NO more personnel than ABSOLUTELY necessary in the kill zone.I really don't like dealing with gas in "saran wrap" but that's a "me" thing. T.C.

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                • #9
                  Unless you will be entering an explosive atmosphere with your radio, you do not need an IS rated radio. Most people do not understand how it works. It isn't just buying the radio. Service and repairs must all be done by by people and methods to maintain the IS certification of the radio. The moment someone touches the radio that isn't training to repair an IS radio, the certification for that radio is gone.

                  So, don't bother unless you actually need them. If you are walking up to a leaking gasoline tanker and you're worried about the radio blowing your *** up, then leave the radio outside the hot zone.
                  Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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