Firefighting

USING TECHNOLOGY TO MANAGE THE INFORMATION OVERFLOW

Issue 5 and Volume 155.

BY LEIF ANDERSON Communication is simply the skill and ability to use words (or signals) to effectively impart information and ideas. Communicating thoughts, messages, ideas, and information to firefighters who are responding to or operating at emergency scenes is not easy. Many factors contribute to the difficulty in communicating; the most apparent one is the enormous amount of information we to want to communicate. Recently, I overheard a company officer complain to his battalion chief, “I have a thousand yards of information to communicate in a 10-yard space-it just doesn’t fit!” Portable and mobile radios are very effective for brief fireground communications (on-scene reports or progress reports, for example), but we can rapidly overwhelm our radio systems with the “thousand yards” of information we want (or need) to communicate. In addition, if we use our radio system for these “thousand yards,” then it won’t be available for critical communications. It’s…

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