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Old 07-14-2014, 7:23 PM
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Default First responder channel for Greenville County

With dozens of special tax districts for independent fire departments, the taxpayer will take another big hit on this one.

County's emergency communication system has dangerous deficit | Local News - WYFF Home
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Old 07-14-2014, 8:41 PM
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I can remember back in the 70's when I use to stock 23 dif Crystals just for Fire channels. It's always been that way here in Greenville. Parker Fire Dist once said they had more equip and stations than anyone else and they didnt need any help. Hows that for independant ??
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:26 AM
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We have more fire chiefs than the Pentagon has generals. My tax bill for one of the smallest fire districts is now more than the total for all other county services, including EMS and law enforcement. And then they panhandle on the street corners for God only knows what. That "independent" Parker crowd has changed its radio system several times. Nothing can stop them from doing it again after we "consolidate communications."

The county is already paying to dispatch a dozen of these districts, although they all pay their own dispatchers to handle firecomm. Maybe these are volunteers, but we should add these departments to the county dispatchers, hire another dispatcher or two if necessary, and eliminate the duplication. All of that traffic can be handled by the county just like the sheriff does? And keep it on VHF so the volunteers -- God bless these guys -- can monitor this traffic.

Anyone who monitors these "independent" channels knows they stand idle for hours on end. Spartanburg County has almost as many departments and they are all dispatched by the county. They share TAC channels and everyone can talk to everyone else.

We need to be paving roads instead of buying more radios for "independent" fire chiefs. If it's time to consolidate "communications," it's also time to consolidate the other operations -- and pave the darn roads.

Last edited by JohnSC; 07-15-2014 at 12:30 AM..
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Old 07-15-2014, 4:28 AM
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I don't see this as being a county problem. As John says, the problem lies with the individual departments which are funded by their own tax districts. The county can dispatch on VHF (155.235) or UHF (453.500), but the multiple response communications problems come from the old legacy radio channels. There are several answers to this. You could add.handheld radios to your pumpers to use on mutual aid calls. Or they could buy the Harris XG-100, Motorola APX-7000, or the Thales Liberty handhelds for the mutual aid responding crews. Still expensive, but not millions of dollars.

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Old 07-15-2014, 11:28 AM
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With an inexhaustable supply of taxpayer funding, there is no incentive to centralize operations at any level of government. JohnSC has it right, but common sense doesn't generally factor in to government operations.

At the very least, it would seem that Greenville County Fire Departments could choose a single band to use - VHF or UHF. UHF seems to me to be the better choice, as it would allow interoperability with Greenvillle EMS and GCSO, who also use UHF. Those still using VHF radios would be the ones to change. With narrowbanding and the number of nearby PDs moving to 800, it would seem like UHF frequencies would be abundant. That would eliminate the need for multiple radios.

Every FD could still have "their" channel and keep "their" dispatcher if they so choose, but being on the same band would allow for some common channels to be used at larger incidents.
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Old 07-17-2014, 1:02 AM
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Seems like a VHF/UHF trunked radio system using 6 or 7 each of the fire departments channels and located on Paris Mountain with the capability to link talkgroups across bands would do the trick. It makes too much sense. If it was DMR, the channels would double up.

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Old 07-17-2014, 9:06 AM
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Wow. How quickly we forget. SC already supports the National V-Tac / U-Tac Freqs. These could quickly be implemented. I think the Motorola shops in the area are to blame. For a few years Berea and Parker shared the Winchester 800 trunking system on Paris Mtn and only one talk group was needed to have Mutual Aid for those departments. It wasnt programmed for that use. In addition, you will find PAL 800 already has talk groups for Mutual Aid in place. Ch-2 is Fire and Ch-3 is EMS. These have already been verified. As a matter of fact all 8 channels have been verified in this area. Everything that Greenville Co needs is already online using PAL 800. All it takes is proper programming.
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Old 07-17-2014, 6:47 PM
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So either a total move to PAL800 or one of the crosspatch units. The field patch over unit would have to be a County supplied to be sure they get it to the scene.

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Old 07-20-2014, 9:33 AM
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Default And millions and millions and millions

Antiquated communication system putting lives of Greenville County citizens, first responders at risk
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Old 07-20-2014, 8:16 PM
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The ClearLink frequencies are in the 700-800 mhz band IIRC and would be required to be digital. A lot of money to re-equip all departments to 700/800 Mhz P25 radios. Not to mention the need for multi-sited radio systems to provide local coverage. Even in Picken's County, the fire depts and rescue squads have separate VHF channels for scene command and usually two different lines of authority. The bottom line is the political lines in the sand. Most EMS and EMA directors are hired by county council while the sheriff is elected. Greenville Counties EMS/Fire and Sheriff office dispatch operations are separated. I still think that the best immediate option is to for the county to put a separate linked UHF/VHF repeater on Paris for combined operations. Fairly cheap and quick.

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Old 07-26-2014, 9:52 PM
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We used to live in Greenville and I always thought the entire communication system for fire was backward. When we moved to Louisville Kentucky it was the same here but since we moved here they have developed a countywide dispatch system for all public service agencies. It's called MetroSafe, you can look at the Kentucky area of these forums and news a long thread about it! It's a P25 system and since implementation was completed it has worked very well. One thing we have here which sort of forced the fire departments into the was a state statute that limited his suburban fire departments taxing ability. It set a maximum amount they could levy and they had to find ways to preserve resources especially as they continue to hire additional paid firefighters at the volunteer community declined.
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Old 07-29-2014, 6:55 PM
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I listen to the Greenville County EMS and Fire Dept dispatch every day. The system works for normal day to day operations. The issue brought up in the news regards when one fire department requests mutual aid from a neighboring one that is on a different radio band. It is hard to see why one would need to add an expensive new digital trunked system to address this. One Vhf repeater linked to one UHF repeater would cover the issue.

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Old 07-29-2014, 7:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnSC View Post
We have more fire chiefs than the Pentagon has generals.
There is your biggest problem right there. As someone who helps manage & maintain a city owned radio system that also is used by County FDs I know exactly what JohnSC is talking about. We only have 5 Volunteer Fire Departments in the county but getting them all to agree on a standard radio template is like trying to move a boulder up a hill.
And all of these 5 county fire departments in my example are on ONE 800Mhz trunked radio system!
The main problem is never technology it is always people. Radio systems can be configured a hundred different ways to allow interop regardless of freq band being used (VHF/UHF/700/800Mhz) but getting people to agree on using the interop options available to them is like pulling teeth.
I have explained the NIFOG and 8CALL90/8TAC frequencies to chiefs so many times I have the frequencies memorized but do they ever think to use them? Nope.
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:53 PM
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As was said many years ago, "Interoperability isn't a technology, it is a mindset."

Last edited by CCHLLM; 07-30-2014 at 12:03 AM..
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Old 08-12-2014, 3:09 PM
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Also Spartanburg City Fire also have radios where they can communicate with the Spartanburg County depts on main dispatch repeater channel and tac channels

and some of the Spartanburg County Depts that provide Mutual Aid for the City those close to the City Limits as a City Issue Walkie Talkie where County Depts can talk to the City Fire units on the City Fire UHF channels.
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