D.C. Refutes Metro Claim Firefighter Radios Hampered Rescue

The District of Columbia is pushing back against the Metro system’s explanation that firefighters had difficulty using radios during a fatal accident earlier this month because it failed to alert the transit agency to changes it made to the radios, reports wjla.com (http://bit.ly/1yUghro)

The District’s homeland security agency issued a report Friday night concluding that encryption was “apparently” not the cause of radio problems that hampered the rescue of passengers aboard a smoke-filled train.

The report said that D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services officials coordinated for two years with Metro, performing more than 600 tests of digital radios with encrypted channels and working in every station.

The District transitioned in December to the new equipment.

But Metro interim General Manager Jack Requa had said Thursday that the District didn’t alert the transit agency before making changes. He contended that the encryption made firefighter radios almost non-working during the emergency.

Firefighters found Jan. 8 that the radios were not working properly at the L’Enfant Plaza station; the District notified Metro but repairs weren’t made before the Jan. 12 mishap in which an electrical malfunction brought a train to a halt inside a tunnel there.

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