Hi! My name is Samantha and I am not a firefighter.

I am however a college student at the Columbus College of Art and Design. I am in the Industrial Design department. What we do is design/redesign products to be more efficient, more ergonomic and just basically more user and earth friendly.

What does this have to do with you? Well we are currently working on a Walkie Talkie project, and I have decided to redesign a walkie talkie set for a firefighter. I am really excited about this, but like I said I know nothing about firefighting.

That is why I am asking if you could respond to this post with information that could help me make a design you might actually like! A few questions you could respond to are:

•What current issues do you have with your current walkie talkie systems?
•Are they hard to use with your gloves?
•Could they be designed more efficiently for ease of use?
•Where do you usually keep them? On your arm? In your pocket?
•What other devices do you use that has a design/function that you like?
•Do you know what plastic they are made from? Is it good at heat resistance?
•If you could make the walkie talkie any color, which color would you want it to be? Easier to see?

ANY help would be GREAT! I really appreciate it, and keep up the good work saving lives and keeping us safe!


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i think if u could design something that would be a bit smaller or something u could wear under ur scba maskthat would activate when u talk and only talk
something medium and compact in size.Also to go along with what steve was saying also.It's kind of hard to push buttons,switch channels with youre gloves on.smaller antenas.Different color than grey or black.
YAY someone replied! Umm...well there are restrictions to the design. I have to base it off an existing walkie talkie. And it's very small...so that is good. I don't think it will fit under the masks....it's more of I have to stick to the hand held size.

I also have another question, is there anyway I can find out more about you guys...outside of work? I know it sounds weird, and you all are very different. But I have to make up a "Market Research" board, with information about firefighters..what they like/dislike things like that. Then I have to make up a mock firefighter. I get to name him and everything! :P

Thanks for ALL the info! :)
Hey - welcome to the Nation. I think a bright color would be great instead of basic black. Also, small is good, but the fire gloves and small objects don't go together. Knowing what channel you are on is an issue also, especially if you change channels, then go back to another one (lots of checking to see where you really are).
NO!!! that was absolutely amazing. Everything you told me made me feel so much better because those were the concerns we had (being bright in color, bulk of gloves getting in way, etc)

I am SOOO excited about all of you responding!! I do have plans to go to one of the fire dept in town tomorrow after class.

I will most CERTAINLY use the name JED! That is just awesome!

I have to stand up in front of the class tomorrow and give a presentation on my market (you guys). I can't wait to tell them everything you have just told me.

I will be done with this project in 2.5 weeks. I know it doesn't seem like that long....but we work really hard...thus why I have gotten no sleep tonight! But what I am trying to get at (I know you guys work TONS harder than us!) is that when I have my final, I will take a picture and post it. I will have to draw sketches, and do CAD drawings. We get the parts for the inside, so in the end I have two working ONE OF A KIND walkie talkies. :)

Thanks again for your response!! I know it seems mindless to you guys...but for us non-heroes, we just have an idea, but need people who are in that field to help us out. One thing they wanted us to do was to get into your heads....well this is my way of doing that. I have probably read over 100 profiles on here, checked out there myspaces, and came up with guy who I thought would fit in perfectly. His name WAS Jeff....but now JED!! :D

Please keep posting with ANY ideas. And heck, even if you have an idea for something that will make your life easier, you can tell me that too. :P

(P.S. Anyone on here from any Columbus, Ohio fire dept, and willing to spend time with a friend and I, that would be great!) :)
one of the problems i have is, we have many differant channels and when i switch from the ems ch to one of the fire ch's and back. i have been known to be on the wrong ch. if i have my gear on, i'm not looking at the radio i'm just counting the clicks. if there was a autible voice telling me what ch i'm on that would help me from being on the wrong ch. say i'm on ch5- two clicks down and the radio say's "channel three". that would help alot. good luck with your project.
stay safe - stay low,
Things to consider would be:
1. Waterproof. Murphy's law, you get a bunch of firefighters trhowing water on a fire and before you know it your equipment is wet and does not function well. At times this could be critical.
2. Intrinsically safe. There is nothing worse that being the point of ignition in hazardous atmosphere, because of your radio.
3. As far as the ease of use with gloves on. Put on a pair of snow ski gloves and attmept to dial your cell phone. If you can master a technique to make that work apply it to the radio.
4. Channel lock and distress alarm. If you have ever been caught in a bad situation and attmepted to contact the IC over the radio unsuccessfully, only later to find in the midst of you delema your radio got bumped and changed channels. Also some manufacturers have come out with a distress button on the radio, that's handy.
5. There is also a variety of ways in which radio's are carried by firefighters. There are those that have pockets on their coats, in a radio sling, even some leave on under their gear. Either situtation you have to dig it out when you want to use it, exposing it to the harsh environment, or have a mic extension. Once again think about the snow glove, cell phone situation.
6. Size and Color. I've had everything from the "Brick" to a radio the size of a cell phone. Both had their advantages and disavantages. We already carry enough equipment so I'd say something average size, but does the job. As far as color. black looks cool but if you ever have dropped something black on the ground at night or in a pile of ash and debris good luck. I'd suggest a safety yellow. I know it's not stylish, but is it about style or safety??
Well that should be a start. If you want further input let me know. Good luck
I like the concept of answering the incoming call within a few seconds and you automatically talk back to the person on their frequency.

I will echo the previous posts about speaker pointed up, display side and buttons below. Can we have a battery life indicator showing somewhere instead of the darn thing dying while I'm transmitting?

What about different color antennas or face plates like cellphones?
I would like to see a tac mic that is easier to key up with my gloves on, the ones my dept. has the buttons are so small that: one, you cant find it with your gloves on or two, your finger slips off the button.
hi to everyone, I agree with ryan , we have many channels ourself and I find that while inside a structure working a fire you really cant see much of anything and if you are lucky enough to catch to radio announcement to go to a another channel you have to count clicks as you turn the button although I have found not all of our portables (walkie talkies) click. I agree some type of sound or announcement stating the channel# would be great. As for out side of work I am the father of two teenage girls 1 dog ,1cat. iam married 18 years to a younger beautiful woman who is also my best friend ,I am a musician,singer, ex hockey player still a big fan I love the buffalo sabres and the bills.
my family and I love the outdoors in the summer we love to entertain in our yard around the pool. I hope this is the type of info you are looking for. oh p.s. I like candle lit dinners long walks in the sand cuddling and movies..............LOL
Most the new fire coats have a radio pocket on them and it is on the left front of the coat. It makes it nice to have it there so you can clip the mic on to flap of the pocket. The clips on the radio mics just do not seem to be strong enough to stay on where you clip them to. Bright color would be nice black is getting just to boaring.
LOL! OMG you guys are amazing this turnout of responses is just great.

I have a lot of limitation when it comes to what the actual walkie talkie (or radio as I have found some of you call it) does. But here is the thing. I started this for a school project. And as seeing that the school project has too many limitations for your (the almighty firefighters) needs, I have decided that after this project and over Christmas break.

I am going to work on an actual walkie talkie for you guys to use that can fit all the needs that you guys have stated here (well at least a lot of them, can please EVERYONE, but I can sure try! :)) It will probably take a while to actually make a prototype and get tests and everything. But once me and my friend, who is going to work with me, are done we are going to try to present the design to Motorola and also enter the design into a design competition. Design competitions are were most of all the new ideas for items come from, Like the iphone, sports equipment, etc.

We have been so excited about this idea. When we presented to the class that we were going to do a walkie talkie for fighter fighters, everyone was so impressed. Everyone kept coming up to us saying what a great job we did and how it's so cool the "Target Market" we choose. Other groups choose people like Environmentalists, Athletic Runners, Snowboarders/Skiers, and Hunters. We were the only specific group and the only one with an actual need.

I would also like to thank Ladder 24 of the Columbus fire department. We were able to go to the firehouse and talk to the guys. They let me try on the gloves and hold the walkie talkie. We took it apart and studied it extensively. We almost got to go on a run, which I was so excited to do I almost peed my pants! LOL. But for some reason at last moment we weren't allowed.

So we stuck around and took pictures. It's amazing those trucks you guys drive. WAY HOT! :) We were there a good part of the day. The guys were AMAZING and even invited us back!

Anyways...I appreciate the turn out of response. Keep coming back for when I post my design for the project. Like I said I have a LOT of limitation for the school project...so the walkies wont look like anything you would want to use. But we will be redesigning one that you would. The one for school is due in two weeks. Not sure when we will complete the final yet.

If you still have more suggestions PLEASE feel free to msg here.

On one last note....one of the firefighters from the fire house we went to said that there was no point in making the walkies any other color but black, because in a week the sucker will be black anyways. What do you think? I will have to do my research on different materials that are heat resistant while also easy to keep clean.

THANKS GUYS! And keep doing the GREAT job of keeping us safe!

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