Monday, May 08, 2006
Let's all say this together... INTER-OPERABILITY... again...
Greetings from your Westmoreland County 911 Insider, The Informational Blah-g.
I wanted to touch bases with you on a subject mentioned in the Blah-g a few days ago. I had reported that Westmoreland County’s 911 Radio Cyst-Em (system) had gone down, out of service for approximately an hour on May 2nd, 2006 and I gave my thoughts on how it might have gone down.
As it happens, a UPS ( Un-Interruptible Power Supply ) had burned up at one of the remote tower sites and that caused that tower site to go down. Like a domino effect, it took down the rest of the system too. That left 911 in the dark with NO COMMUNICATIONS along with all fire departments, police and EMS stations in the entire county.
How many more ways can I say that ?
911 could not talk to a single firefighter, police officer or medic in the county of Westmoreland – Pennsylvania for over an hour because of a lame radio system.
Police cars in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania could NOT talk to each other for over an hour on May 2, 2006 !
Thank God there we no reported or working fires around 5 PM on the 2nd of May, 2006 in Westmoreland Co., Pa. because the firefighters would not have been able to communicate with each other due to the multi-multi Million Dollar Radio System Crashing again. Last heard over $30,000,000.00 dollars has been poured into this system and in some cases it is impossible to talk to a co-worker in the next room.
Motorola has failed to deliver in performance, service and maintenance bringing shame to it’s name, although they were smiling the whole way to the bank when the Westmoreland County Commissioners signed the original $14,300.000.00 Radio Contract.
Since then the county has spent another $10,000,000.00 + in updates in order to correct problems that radio engineers have told the commissioners are uncorrectable.
On May 2nd, 2006 Emergency Ambulance Services could not call the hospital emergency rooms of any hospital in the Westmoreland County Pennsylvania area on their new 800 Mhz Radio System as it was broken. With no back up system in place the ambulance medics and EMT’s had to fall back on cell phones and their old “trusty” VHF radio systems.
Some services installed these radios with much resolve and hesitation however the director of the Westmoreland County 911, Richard Matason assured these services that 800 Mhz was the way to go with uninterrupted and expanded services. In one case an Ambulance Service bought into this idea as the equipment was free and they could use this system as a taxi service, moving most of their mundane transmissions over to this new service. As all of the Ambulance services found out again ( as this was not the first time the system has taken a crash ) this system is about as trustworthy as a sex offender working in a day care center.
It’s 5 o’clock in the afternoon, traffic is at it’s highest and the police as always are there to protect and serve. However on May 2nd, 2006 they were unable to live up to their promise because calls coming into the 911 center for police protection and services could not make it to the policemen out in their police cruisers and on foot patrol because their radios went silent. Seems a small problem at one of the costly under planned tower sites cause a major chain reaction within the entire 911 system shutting it down completely.
Several police officers through-out Westmoreland County Pennsylvania attempted to get in contact with their base stations and other police officers within their districts but received only an annoying beeping sound from their portable and mobile radios. Should there had been an actual emergency, or should a police officer had an emergency themselves which would have required the push of their “emergency button” on their radio nothing would have happened nor would any help have ever arrived.
The small partner that these fine public servants carry on their belts was disabled. The radio to some smaller police departments becomes a police officers patner, something that talks to him/her and something that he or she talks to. A police officers direct connection to the 911 center, the heartbeat of MOST counties.
OK OK, so I thought of a few more ways to say it.
911 HAD BETTER GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER AND PLAN ON A BACK UP SYSTEM FOR THIS ONE, OR A BETTER SYSTEM.
You have to realize that this SHOLD HAVE IN THE ORIGINAL PLANS… in the WHAT IF stages.
EXPORT FIRE DEPARTMENT, STATION 22 is now the PROUD FATHER of a Made In Japan Digital Siren Activator ! Just like a baby, this little critter will KEEP YOU UP at night and cry when it feels like it. Unfortunately when the siren is suppose to call you (911 activation) it goes on strike like a baby that you are trying to spoon feed. When in doubt, just as someone from Herminie Fire Department.
I’m in touch with several DISPATCHERS from Westmoreland County and all but one of them are reporting an excess of FALSE ALARMS. The one that that isn’t reporting any false activations just wanted to let me know that they are following all the Blah-gs and to keep up the good work.
Speaking of dispatchers, I do work closely with a few of them and within my chats I do hear the horror stories of the inter-workings of 911, who does what and who doesn’t do anything at all. Once last year I did do a story on a few of the dispatchers who were not doing their jobs, instead they came into work late, read the paper all morning, and didn’t really do all that well operating the equipment.. things changed quickly after that.
It has been quite a few months since I did any reporting on the dispatchers and it appears that since then things are going back to the same old same old.
I think it’s great that there are GOOD dispatchers out there that CARE enough about their job and the CITIZENS of Westmoreland County to tell me about those “dispatchers” who ride on the hard work of others.
I won’t go any further with this issue for now because I really am trying to keep this Blah-g dedicated to EQUIPMENT PROBLEMS and MAMAGEMENT STUPIDITY and normally just mentioning dispatcher problems here is enough to get the “lazy ones” to wake up.
INTER-OPERABILITY MY ASS !
Call it a Woods Fire, Major Brush Fire or Forest Fire… the Chestnut Ridge area had one whooping SOB fire Sunday afternoon. Besides Westmoreland County’s Finest Fire Departments we also had units come in from Indiana County, The Department of Forestry, Westmoreland County Search and Rescue Team 211, the State Police Helicopter and Orville the Fire Finding Fido.
You want to talk about INTER-OPERABILITY !
At first when the Big Massive Fire was just a baby fire it was ok. Then as more and more companies began to show up less and less radios were available, Indiana County only had a small amount of radios, the State Police obviously didn’t have any of our 800 Meggy Hurts Radios (inter-operability), Indiana Co. had Fire Fighters out there with only Low Band Radios which can’t receive the 800 Meggy Hurts Transmissions (inter-operability) Team 211 requested Radios (why weren’t they issued radios when the Commissioners have them ?) and Fido… well, he was happy just playing with his bone.
So you had a hundred or more firefighters out there with limited communications between each other.
Here is a question for you.
WHEN DO YOU STOP FIGHTING A FIRE ?
WHEN THE BATTERY GOES DEAD ON THE RADIO BEING USED AS COMMAND !
More than once I heard the transmission, and I am paraphrasing here “Stop the water, my radio’s battery is dead, someone get me a new battery”. So that gives the fire a chance to recharge itself. Get it, recharge !! Another fine mess you got us into Tommy.
Tommy, can you hear me ?
The fire was in Ligonier Township.. you know, the area where they only put ONE TOWER SITE as opposed to the New Kensington Area which is covered by FOUR TOWERS. Remember, the Western Half of our county got 22 TOWER SITES, the Eastern Half received FOUR.
Hmmm, I finally figured out how the 911 Manager Richard Matason decided where the towers went. Theory: One night after a boring Commissioners Cookie and Bake Sale everyone went to the nearest Tavern and put a MAP of Westmoreland County on the wall, then they threw darts.
13 darts to start with (as that’s how many tower sites Richard Matason said we would need to more than cover the county with 800 Meggy Hurts) and that is where to towers were put up. They had to return to that tavern several times when a new tower had to go up. Of course that is just my theory. Send in your theories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyhow because they were in Ligonier Township the DIGI-CRAP was running amuck ! People repeating just about everything twice, people repeating everything twice, 911 had problems hearing about 25% of all the transmissions and the portable radios had trouble hearing 911.
Looking back on the whole mess, about one year ago today everyone would have been on low band, 33.52 Mhz and NO TOWERS WOULD HAVE BEEN NEEDED. Everyone could have talked to each other and there would have been more than enough portable radios to go around… Plus Indiana Co., the State Police and the Forestry Department already has 33.52 Mhz.
Someone forgot about those days.
I’m not saying 33.52 is better than 800 Meggy Hurts… well, YES I AM. In this case and with our terrain low band is definitely better. Now is 33.52 Mhz the system we should go back to ? NO !
Again, for about the Five Hundred Twenty Second Time 400 Mhz would have worked just fine for our area with properly place antenna towers. No DARTS THIS TIME, a topographical radio study should be done with FCC 1st Class Engineers deciding where the tower sites should be, not the Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy.
HEY, I only wanted to write a small Blah-g and look what happened ! Damn, just so much wrong with this Motorola Junk and the Junk we have on the Greensburg Hill that once I get started it’s hard for me to stop.
Listen to the un-altered audio clips on my website anytime you wish to see how bad our Radio Cyst-Em Really Is ! Over 100 Audio Clips are there now and I have been adding a few new clips each week so check it out often.
http://800.k3sam.com – web
email@example.com – yo commentos
GO TO THE AUDIO CLIPS [INSTA-LINK]