Firefighter dies due to radio failure
- Although not directly ham related, this is a radio issue that public service
personnel should be aware of. I have never been a fan of trunked systems
for emergency use for reasons not really fit to discuss openly. In a
nutshell, they are much more failure prone than the radios we already use.
"WASHINGTON - Caught in thick smoke in a burning suburban Cincinnati home,
veteran firefighter Robin Broxterman and her novice mate, Brian Schira,
tried to summon help on their Motorola digital radios. She called four
times, he another half dozen, according to radio logs from the 2008
For seven long minutes before concluding that contact had been lost, the
Colerain Fire Department's incident commander heard nothing discernible from
Broxterman and Schira, certainly no urgent "mayday" calls for a rescue
operation, an internal investigation found.
In the ensuing rescue effort, Broxterman, a 37-year-old mother of two, and
Schira, 31, were found dead in the basement, covered with rubble from a
"No firefighter should have to die because of a radio that doesn't work,"
said Arlene Zang, Broxterman's mother and a firefighter herself, while
conceding that other factors influenced the tragedy.
Many of the nation's biggest fire departments, spooked by allegations that
Motorola's digital radio failures contributed to the deaths of at least five
firefighters, the disabling of a sixth and scores of close calls, have
limited use of the glitzy gadgets acquired in a post-Sept. 11
emergency-communications spending splurge.
From the same page:
"Fire departments in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Phoenix
and Boise, Idaho - communities that have spent tens of millions of dollars
on the new equipment - are so leery of problems that they won't use digital
radios at fire scenes.
Boston firefighters "are not to use digital radios," said Joseph Brooks,
radio supervisor for the city's Fire Department. "They don't have them
because I said no."