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Firefighters’ Radios – the Heated Discussion

There has long been much discussion surrounding the necessity for firefighters to use radios when on a call. They are crucial to communicating with individuals inside and outside the heart and heat of the fire to ensure the protection and safety of both firefighters and victims. But can they withstand the extreme heat exposure, and how hot can it get before they become ineffective or simply “too hot to handle”?

Are Firefighters’ radios safe in extreme heat?

In December 2014, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released the results of a study testing the effects of high temperatures on the performance of handheld portable radios (PDF). These tests were conducted after portable radio performance problems were noted in several line-of-duty firefighter fatalities investigations by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) performance standard for firefighter portable radios states that “portable radios shall be manufactured for the environment in which they are to be used and shall be of a size and construction that allow their operation with the use of one hand.”

The ability to communicate under adverse field conditions remains a critical topic for the health and safety of all public safety. The ever-changing environment where firefighters are required to work requires continued research to keep them safe. As communications hardware solutions evolve, it is vital that we ensure they are suitable and reliable for the public safety community.

Firefighters radios are critical for safety

Industry experts who champion firefighter safety as well as firefighters who work on the front lines recommend that each and every firefighter be equipped with a portable radio. This simple and small device is such a vital part of the firefighter’s survival that it cannot be ignored.

The portable radio provides a lifeline to three distinct people: the incident commander, the dispatcher and every firefighter who has a radio. Having these three tiers of safety provides a firefighter who may need help the ability to reach not just one person, but a whole host of people.

Many believe the portable radio is the single-most versatile piece of equipment that a firefighter or officer can carry into a hazardous situation because they are the means for:

  • All responders to begin becoming informed and educated about the incident once the first firefighter or officer arrives on the scene;
  • The incident commander to execute command and control activities;
  • Officers and firefighters deployed to tactical assignments in the hazard area to communicate their observations and progress to the IC and to receive updated orders; and
  • Personnel in the hazard area back to talk to the IC should there be a Mayday event.

ATECH Fire & Security provides radio enhancement radio amplifiers

Atech provides the enhancement and amplifiers needed to ensure Firefighters’ radios function throughout an entire high-rise building. This capability is required to meet the specifications of the Florida building code.

Call 1-800-FL-ALERT today to learn about the services and products we offer to ensure complete safety. You may also complete and submit the online contact form and we will contact you.   We will be happy to explain the details of our products and services so that you will fully understand what we do.  We look forward to serving and protecting you!


1945 W Copans Road
Pompano Beach, Florida   33064

Broward: 954-957-8980
Palm Beach: 561-392-0036

1-877-FL-ALERT
1-877-(35-25378)

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  • EC License EC-13005283
  • State Fire Inspectors License FM-76863
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  • US Patent - Waterlarm US 8,922,379 B1

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