i'm trying to find out how other depts. feel about their members carring pagers or portable radios. our dept. gives us pagers to carry for our tones to come through on and we have problems with calls not coming through all the time. if we had portables this may not happen. whats your opinion

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My department issues ht 750's to all firefighters, and ht1250's to all officers, they also get a pager if one is available. I have an ht1250, and a motorola m5 with playback feature, they are nice because if you forget the numerics you can just hit the button instead of asking. As far as not issuing radios to every firefighter, I cannot understand that. If we get a call I want to know who is enroute, so I can decide on mutual aid is needed or not.
Without personnel to respond, what good is the department? If the issue with issuing portable radios is too much useless babble on the radio, make them receive only. This will allow incoming radio traffic, but will not allow any communications to leave from the radios. Pagers are about $600, and in some cases, portable radios are $200 and 16 channel. (vertex standard)
From What I am reading. It seem the ones that has radios issued to there members. To many has diarreah of the mouth.

We have min 5 pagers. 750 and 1250 Motor hand helds. Each member issued one each. The members knows they only talk when need to or talked to by command. We have tac channels that are used for certain traffic for certain incidents. Example auto accidents. Traffic control is tac 1 accident scene is repeater channel and or ems channel. Which ever fits the situation. OIC moniters all channels and our able to talk on all channels if need to.

Now I am not going to set hear and tell you it's perfect. Its not. we do have issues. For the most part it works.

It is all what is best for your department.
At one of the departments that I volly at (Hilltown Twp. VFC), we have a similar problem. We have a lot of dead spots in our local. We switched over to high band dispatching close to 2 years or so ago to help solve the problem. Only the officers carry portables. Everybody has a Minitor 5, and select people have an alphanumeric pager for Montgomery Co., PA dispatches. It takes a bit for dispatches to come from Montgomery Co. to Bucks Co. (up to 5 minutes), so the alphas took care of that problem...so far. We also discussed handing out some of the extra fireground radios to the engineers to see who can drive what if we get hit out. A few companies over in MontCo had the exact type of problem that you did with the tones not activating. They had to go to their respective stations and manually dump the tones. A repeater can more than likely help ya out.
There are the occasional problem children, but our sop's state that all drivers check enroute first, and then firefighters, they also know that if they abuse the radio, they will lose them. All in all we dont have to many rproblems with radio traffic, we also dont use 10-codes, only simple plain talk.
As an officer for our Dept I have a radio to use but prefer to carry a pager and have the radio nearby (in the car table workbench etc) the pager isn't as bulky and doesn't get caught on everything. As far as signal my experience is that if my pager has a weak signal my handheld does too. If your have a problem w your pagers not geting a signal handhelds probably won't fix the problem. The problem is probably with your dispatch transmitting power or lack of repeaters or repeaters in bad position! We have had to move two of our repeater. Towers due to weak signals. Once they relocated them our problems with missed pages and weak signals went away
Our dept. issues Motorola Minitor 2, 3, 4, and an occasional 5. 2's are pretty much wore out and junk. Because we are on low band and we are in the foothills of Western NY, the signal is weaker. Moving from the local repeater, doesn't help much. No matter how we try, there's always a lost signal, or alert with no voice. We have installed a repeater in our base radio, which activates the pagers when we are toned out, which helps some, but you have to be pretty much local (within a couple of miles) to get it. Now we are getting text messaging from dispatch over our cell phones if we ask for it and have a text plan. That helps BIG TIME! Gives all relevant info (location, type of call, cross street, time of call). I recommmend this avenue if your dispatch has CAD and has the ability to do this....
I am an officer in my department so I get a portable and a pager. We have texting and a siren. I work for a small college. One morning I was in a dead zone - we had some burnt bacon in one of the apartments. I did not get the page, hear the siren or get a text (it went down, work for the call 30 minutes earlier). The campus safety people did not call me - I usually know before they do because I am with the FD. I figured out we had a call when when I heard a chief go on location over my portable (I still had it from the call earlier), I started for my car and saw the pumper on a campus street.

All that to say I should have know about the call from different sources and didn't. I think that your solution is not portables for members, but adding texting and consider a repeater or local simulcast.

An added note - I have to carry a fist full of keys for work, cell phone, pocket knife and a screw driver I really don't want to carry any more - I only carry my tool belt when I know I am going to need it. So if my FD wanted us to carry portables all the time they would be out of luck when it came to me.

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