WMFS receives HF radio equipment from Barrett

Wednesday, 19 April, 2017

Freeimages mihai andoni

The West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) has received portable radio communications equipment from Barrett Communications.

This equipment will be used by the organisation for its specialist search and rescue team when responding to international emergencies.

The WMFS is the second-largest fire service within the United Kingdom and is responsible for the coordination of communications element of UK International Search and Rescue (UKISAR). 

In larger emergencies, voice communication to and from outside the impact area is critical. HF radio communications is often used by first responders to natural or man-made disasters where normal communications infrastructure has either been destroyed or disabled in the disaster. With the exception of the initial capital cost, HF systems are infrastructure independent and free to air with no ongoing call costs. 

The WMFS is part of the larger International Search and Rescue Team (ISAR), a group known for its global response to natural and man-made disasters. As part of its ongoing training, WMFS was recently involved in the Modex Exercise 2 in Falck Denmark – Langvang, where the exercise scenario was a major earthquake with numerous powerful aftershocks which had devastated the region of Langvang and the busy town of Falck. The exercise took place over four days in below 0°C conditions.

The Barrett RFDS was deployed as part of the UK communications system and provided communication back to the response headquarters in Falck. Two of the WMFS rescue specialists wore Barrett 2090 HF manpacks, which allowed them to provide minute-by-minute updates on the rescue situation.

“The RFDS was deployed and operational within minutes, which is so critical in emergency situations like this, and provided reliable communications throughout the entire exercise. This additional capability of HF radio communications has strengthened the rescue service that WMFS provide,” said Mike Teale, communications engineer with the WMFS.

Image credit: ©FreeImages.com/Mihai Andoni

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