Being a fire investigator, inspector and self proclaimed radio geek, I marvel at the amount of radios that are being installed in Chief's cars of late. I saw an SUV the other day with 10 radios in it. Now I am not an expert BUT. Is it not a little sensory overload to have 10 radios on all at once??? That also does not include cell phone, PDA, Computer, Satellite radio and OHHH ya this one had a DVD player built in.
I think we are missing the point of inter-operability. We need to be safe out there.
A chief that has 10 radios going at the same time is NOT hearing the message.
That is my opinion I could be wrong. Let me know what you think.

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Replies to This Discussion

No doubt!! I teach a radio class at my hall and i actually proved to my members that SCANNING alone could sometimes confuse one. Stay on one channel, preferably the channel designated for the "fireground" and let the command post handle the rest. If the whole "operations" is on one channel, there is less chance for a "mis-communication"!!
WOW! I have never seen 10 radios is one vehicle. I am volunteer firefighter and the unofficial radio geek for our small department. I have a hard enough time getting our guys to remember to bring their portable with them in the first place. We have all of our portables programmed with the Texas Interoperability channels. If the incident is more than 5 miles or so from our repeater, then we all go to TEXAS-FIRE 1 so that we can talk to each other. We recently had to go to TEXAS-FIRE 2 because of a large brush fire operation south of us. I assume that most other states have the same type of Interoperability plan in place. How do other departments handle their radio communications?
TEN RADIOS??? I have found that you can do a fine job with two radios, of course I was only working with three other agencies, but I can't see the need for more than three.
I think that 2 radios are just fine I have 2 in my vehicle and some times that is too much you have to look down an see what radio is transmiting and that can be very distracking when driving sometime I just use one and put the other on scan that way I have one detcated to one channel and the other I can turn off scan if there is something I need to hear or say. 10 radios I think is just over kill.
I say if you need alot of radios for different channels put in a scanner. For example in my fathers chiefs vehicle there is a PD radio FD radio a scanner a FD portable and a regional med network radio. In my ambulance companies rigs there is a ambulance radio a regional EMS radio a portable and a regional EMS radio in the back. In the explorer post radios we have 2 ops channels 1 interoperability channel and the non emergency channel
Well, depending on where you work and what kind of radio systems your neighboring departments use I can see the potential for needing a bunch of radios. Now, that being said do I think for a minute you need them all on at the same time, hell no! Being a ham radio operator and a former police dispatcher I have been known to have a few radios on at one time. For an IC depending on the incident I can see as many as 3. One to talk to your dispatcher, one to talk to your operations folks, and one to talk to water supply and staging since these guys tend to yak too much for the likes of the average ops guy. With that being said you look at how much traffic the IC woudl really be listening to, and you can see where 3 is manageable.

As for 10 radios, let me count how many I could have potentially needed at my last department.
Montgomery County 800 MHz (Motorola)
Miami County 800 MHz (GE)
VHF High Band (Covering Miami and Preble Counties as well as National Fireground and Mutual Aid)
VHF Aircraft (If you wanted to be in compliance with FAA regs should we have had an incident at the airport we covered)

That is 4 and we bordered 9 districts in 3 counties other than ours. This is of cours not adding in any ham stuff that I would most certainly toss in if I were going to be using the vehicle all the time since I know how dependable 800 MHz trunked systems are. Still having a hard time justifying 10 unless he covered one big damn district and bordered a bunch of folks on incompatible systems.
Thats Crazy my wife and I just bought Dual bander's that cover every thing we need From our Fire band to FRS and GRMS. They have 128 programmable frequencies. We love em...

A chief with ten radios is crazy when you can get 1 that would do it all... However like Bob said you could have alot of missed info from scanning all of that...
if u think that is bad u should see my truck.not only do i have the fire radio theres a 2m(eter) ,a 6m, 70cm, 160m, 40m, 30m plus keyer, a laptop, 2 cell phones, light controls, plow controls,cd changer,and a siren. now thats sensory overload and battery over load at times
Before I could offer an intelligent comment I would need to know what the 10 radios are and how they are used. Until then it's possible in my mind the fellow is getting a bum rap.

For all we know, he listens to a lot of outside agencies because it is interesting, and turns them off when he is on a fire call. Also, having radios tuned to specific channels often beats the heck out of a scanner. All too often the scanner stops on some inconsequential dispatch while something big is coming down on another channel, but we miss it. If you can stand - and understand - the multiple voices (which you get to recognize after a while) you can catch a lot of good stuff - some of which might even be important and/or useful for you as an officer.
Communications is an interesting concept. As a 911 Supervisor and fire chief, I am amazed at the amount of money spent on equipment. As I have gotten older, I have found the following statement to be true. "If you and I cannot communicate standing next to each other with a coffee in our hand, lets put a million dollars worth of radio and computer technology between us and add in an emergency." Firefighters should be doing the assigned task, and not listening to the entire event. Competent command officers should be using their resources to safely end the incident and take everybody home. I know, I am looking for the perfect world, but we need to learn to communicate and train with each other, before using the radio.
we have 1 radio and 1 portable per truck but the support/FCV (forward command vehicle) now has 4 as it is used in large wildfires, it has 1 radio on the main command channel, 1 on the channel for the strike team it is leading and another for trunking/talking to a nearby strike team. The fourth is a UHF radio used for coms with private vehicles/forrestry equipment and trucks.
10 is far to many. Id doubt if our dispatch center has that many
Hey guys, the story begins with:
"I saw an SUV the other day with 10 radios in it." Somehow, before too long, Mr. Spoo has decided that the Chief must be trying to listen to all of them at once and based on that assumption, says:
"A chief that has 10 radios going at the same time is NOT hearing the message."

I still would like to know what the 10 radios are tuned to and how they are used - whether they are monitored for entertainment when not on a call, or are they on to try and keep track of things regarding an incident to which the Chief is responding?
If the former, 10 radios will give you a better picture than a few scanners will - the scanners tend to get stuck on one channel for a minor report just when something big is coming down on another channel and you miss it.
If the latter, any Chief who needs to listen to 10 radios for one incident has a problem with the local agencies that don't interoperate - but I rather doubt that all of them are used at an incident.
Let's give the guy the benefit of the doubt here. Also, this thread is so old, the guy who started it probably doesn't come around any more to be able to answer my first question.


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