Does/has anyone used the tactical style throat mics and earpiece for fire ground and interior operations?  It just seems that there hasn't been much in the way of deployment of these types of equipment and we continue to use the clunky and bulky method, yelling into a microphone through a face piece.  I would like to know whether or not the actually work well in that noisy environment and are rated for such



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Hi there.

We have them but only a few actually use them. I, myself, don't care to use them. I found that it takes a little longer donning equipment by having to fish the wires through/under the flash hood. Then locate the push button somewhere accessible. I attached mine on the suspenders strap. You still have the "clunky" radio. And also a bunch of unnecessary wires. I've also had the earpiece come out, and it's extremely hard to put back in with gloves on. You also have to make sure you hit the transmit button....whenever you find it.

  On the plus side, hearing your radio is much easier and you only need to talk normally when transmitting, instead of shouting through your facepiece.

I, personally, just don't like the added wiring, misplacing, or having your transmit button fall off and having the earpiece fall out. It's so much easier to grab the mic on your coat and push the button. So, yes, I prefer the radio and mic....personally. I like the concept of the throat mics, just not the application.

We have had similar issues as Derek mentioned in fact during an interior search 2 of my guys got up close and personal because the one FF had an issue finding his trasmit button so FF #2 found it, but they were new partners so whatever works to get us comfy with eachother I guess.

I have never seen these in use with my fire department.

OK.  So it appears that there is a design issue here.  It sounds like the functionality is a benefit but that is overcome by some flaws in the earpiece, wiring, and ptt.  I guess I would like to probe a little further if you would allow it.

  • what sort of design changes do you think a manufacturer could do for each of those deficiencies?
  • what are your colleagues doing, that use this piece of equipment, to overcome the current shortfalls?

I think there's an opportunity out there to spec out some changes if there's a buy in from all sides.

Thanks for all of your valuable input,


Just thought I would weigh in on this. I have one type of motorola brand throat mics. It works very well, ear piece stays in for the most part, and the transmit button is functional and can be clipped easily for operator use.  All that is, until it is used in the fire service - and more specifically on an interior attack. I don't believe the intention at design was for this sort of service. On a construction site, or pretty much anything BUT the emergency services these devices would/could be a great asset. Not so much for interior firefighting..infact, perhaps the only reasonable use might be by the IC. For the above mentioned reasons, ear piece becoming dislodged, and just the extra time it takes to make sure the thing is not going to interfere with the turnout coat and helmet/hood. I think there is a device out there called an EAR mic..which serves both purposes..ear and voice within the ear piece. Not sure how good that works but that might solve the clarity issue (vs yelling through the maks). Other than that.. nothing else would be of any real benefite vs a hand held mic.  Still have to PTT, and fumble with the bulky radio and hope you are on the right tactical channel, and hope the volume on the radio is adjusted right..nothing different there.  I hope someone comes up with a good solution to communicating through the face piece. By good solution I mean affordable to all, and safe.

Stay safe folks.



Well are we talking like navy seal tac throat mics, the ones tbat go around your throat they have a ptt around the velcro?. shouldnt be used it the fire serive. You have a wire close to your skin covered with 30 pounds of gear if it rips or or exposed to a flame, fire hot metal on your skin. Now when calling a mayday pitch black smokey condition you must always know where your ptt button is

Those are the mics I am referring to.  Maybe the wire insulation is a concern in its current form but our in-service radios now have the same, or greater, exposure problem.

As for the ptt, I have to feel around now even though it is secured.  I could easily see a unit in which the ptt setup is the same as current.  Clip it to whatever/wherever you do now.

I think the biggest obstacle at this point is fishing the wire through gear.  In most cases, there is travel time to work out that stuff.  And if your department has policy to NOT pack up while in motion then more time may be available.

The biggest challenge I want to overcome is communications.  Clear and concise communication.

I thank you all for your comments.

As for the ptt, I have to feel around now even though it is secured.  I could easily see a unit in which the ptt setup is the same as current.  Clip it to whatever/wherever you do now.

That would mean attaching the PTT on the outside of your gear. I don't believe the button is water proof, so that would be something to consider.

I tried posting pics of my throat mic but for some reason it won't work. It's not so much an obstacle as it is an impossibility as for the exposed wires, unless you don't need to adjust volume or channels on the radio. the place where the wire is exposed would only be a small opening (as thick as the wire) in the velcro of your coat. Take that how you see it.

I managed to figure out the pic upload. Here's a visual for those who are not familiar.

As for packing up in motion, you pretty much need to put the radio on first. Then feed the wire through the coat, while holding onto the radio at the same time. If everything was wireless then it would be so much better. Just clumsy.

As for communication..I have to say that it works well. However, I've never had a problem communicating with the mic to the facepiece. Only thing different is that you don't have to borderline shout to be heard and understood.


Thanks for the additional thoughts and pic Derek.

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