Current Status, Knowledge Gaps, and Research Needs Pertaining to Firefighter Radio Communication Systems   [open pdf - 826KB]

"One of the most significant problems facing firefighters within a structure on the fireground is the ability to communicate reliably between the firefighters themselves and between the firefighters and the command post or communications center. In an ideal world, firefighters would be able to communicate with one another and the command post at all times, regardless of where they are or what they are doing. However, this is not the case. Firefighter radio communications to, from and within structures can be unreliable, thereby compromising the safety of firefighters on the fireground. Over the past decade, incidents involving firefighter injuries and fatalities have demonstrated that, despite technological advances in two-way radio communications, important information is not always adequately communicated on the fireground or emergency incident scene. Also, the events of September 11, 2001, and other emergency situations in recent years have highlighted the need not only to improve firefighter radio communications, but also the communication systems available to law enforcement personnel, emergency management officials, and other public-safety responders. The continued incidence of firefighter fatalities where communications are cited as a contributing factor as well as the industry-wide lack of consensus on the appropriate frequencies to use in fireground communications have prompted NIOSH [National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health] to more thoroughly investigate fire communications and the problems associated with communications within, as well as into and from, structures."

2003 TriData Corporation
Retrieved From:
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/
Media Type:
Help with citations