New York union demands fire radio replacement
Peter Gorman, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, New York City, issued a demand during an August news conference that the Fire Department of New York replace its hand-held portable two-way radios. UFOA represents about 2,500 captains, lieutenants and battalion chiefs among FDNY’s 11,500-member department.
Last year, the department deployed 3,800 Motorola digital radios in an upgrade intended, among other things, to improve communications in high-rise buildings. In March 2001, the digital radios were withdrawn because of FDNY’s complaints about inadequate coverage. The department redeployed its older analog radios, which were in use Sept. 11, 2001.
Inadequate coverage with those radios has been cited as contributing to poor communications and possibly greater loss of life — especially among public safety-first responders — than might have been the case with better radio communications. Among those who lost their lives were 343 firefighters.
A source within FDNY told Mobile Radio Technology that a test of the digital radios was completed in late August and that the digital radios began to be redeployed Sept. 3.
Meanwhile, Gorman has called for a grand jury investigation of the failure of the digital radios and the resultant delays in replacing the old radios, such that Sept. 11, 2001, and 10 months later, FDNY was still using the old radios that he described as “inadequate.”