Scottish Fire service radio down.

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Scottish Fire service radio down.

Postby m0lsx » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:14 am

Firefighters across the north of Scotland had to use mobile phones to communicate with control room staff after radio communications were cut for an entire weekend.
The Airwave VHF radios issued to engines and individual fire officer were inoperable from Friday, August 4 until the fault was fixed last Monday.

Last night a Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said that the issue was identified as a network fault and had now been “permanently resolved” by engineers who rerouted the network.

He added that mobile phones are carried by every fire appliance as an additional measure to ensure there is no loss in communications.

But a fire service source said that mobile phones have “obvious shortcomings”, such as areas with no signal and batteries running down, which could put lives at risk.

They added that while radios allow priority messages to be sent, mobile calls tended to block phone lines.

Over the weekend it is understood that all emergency information was being passed to fire crews through mobiles.

Control rooms in Inverness and Aberdeen were switched to Dundee late last year, sparking fears the service would suffer through a loss of local knowledge.

North-east Conservative MSP Peter Chapman said: “It is worrying to hear that there was a failure in the communications system for the fire service in the north division that lasted an entire weekend.

“I would hope that the steps taken by SFRS management following this incident will ensure that there is no repeat.”

Last night the Fire Brigade Union called for an investigation to be launched.

A spokeswoman said: “The Fire Brigades Union have also been made aware that staffing levels in the control room appear to have been below minimum at times during the communications failure.

“This, along with the loss of communications, is deeply concerning and we demand that a thorough investigation is commenced with robust contingency plans put in place to avoid any future failures.”
Area manager Mike Dickson said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Dundee Operations Control Centre noted an issue with radio communications in the North Service Delivery Area on Friday, August 4.

“Thanks to robust strategic planning and the professional training of our control staff, there was no loss in communication with SFRS resources and no effect on the service’s ability to respond to emergencies.

“All SFRS control rooms are equipped with back-up radio and telephone communications equipment which can be immediately activated in the event of an issue arising – this was used in this instance to ensure that there was no loss in communications.

“Fire officers equipped with personal issue radios strengthened this contingency plan.

“Additionally, control staff are able to call upon the resilience and resources of the UK’s largest fire and rescue service.

“As part of SFRS’s national contingency planning, all control rooms are equipped to handle radio communications for any area of the country when necessary.

“Following a thorough investigation, the problem was isolated and identified as a networking fault.

“As of Monday, August 7, a permanent solution was put in place which ensures that this problem should not occur again.”


https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/1307723/firefighters-across-north-of-scotland-forced-to-use-mobiles-as-radio-comms-cut-for-whole-weekend/
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