• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Orange County Fire encryption

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disp10

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#1
Noticed an agenda item for the OCFA board authorizing the purchase of 1,755 new 800 mhz radios to replace all the existing ones. The following quote got my attention..

"An additional requirement was added by the Orange County Fire Chiefs in 2015
to utilize encryption for all Fire Department radios and channels."

Source...top of page 77.

http://ocfastorage.azurewebsites.ne...Minutes/2016/Executive/sr_ec161027-packet.pdf
 

allend

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#2
Of Course "The Fire Chiefs" want everything locked down completely. They wear the brass so of course they know everything when it comes to logistics and technology. NOT.... They probably all get together in their monthly meetings and add "line items" to the agenda to have something to talk about.

Then Motorola comes in with their fancy suits and ties and gives their presentations and say here are our new fancy APX line of radios with encryption built into the radios. But of course we all know that OCFA is still in Analog mode so there is no encryption happening anytime soon.

But we all forgot back in 2001 that all of "The Orange County Police Chiefs" got what they wanted and it was 100 percent fulltime Encryption and "The Board of Supervisors" approved it so maybe The Fire Cheifs will get it in the next couple of years.

Nothing suprises any of us anymore when it comes to locking down trunking talkgroups in SOCAL
 

LAflyer

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#3
I understand OCFA, Anaheim, Huntington Beach and a couple smaller cities have taken delivery of encryption capable APX6000 radios.

I've heard following the San Bernardino terror incident the fire chiefs association is pushing to go encrypted at soonest opportunity.
 

inigo88

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#4
I understand OCFA, Anaheim, Huntington Beach and a couple smaller cities have taken delivery of encryption capable APX6000 radios.

I've heard following the San Bernardino terror incident the fire chiefs association is pushing to go encrypted at soonest opportunity.
If true, this would signal a major and bizarre paradigm shift in the interoperability-focused and clear text fire fighting communications philosophy that currently exists throughout the nation.

The Incident Command System (ICS) was pioneered by California firefighters in the 1970s, and has now become an international model for emergency response. FIRESCOPE was also formed back then and continues to publish statewide fire communication guidelines.

Elsewhere on this forum is a thread titled Verdugo Fire now on Pulsepoint, which says that not only are they not encrypting their communications, but the agency itself is providing its own online radio feed and is sharing its CAD data[/u] onto that app in real time, because they recognize the value in keeping the public involved in emergency response. Los Angeles County Fire Dept, San Diego Fire Dept and numerous other agencies in California also share their CAD data through standalone websites or apps like Pulsepoint for the same reason. All personal patient identifying information is stripped out to comply with HIPAA.

I think OCFA has lost their way with this decision, and is turning their backs on a decades long precedent for fire communications interoperability.
 
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#5
I can see the use of encryption in the fire service for only a couple areas, Arson channels and medic to hospital channels. Going with encryption is like a Fire Department that still uses their own threads and not national standard. With strike teams getting sent all over the state for any type of fire, civil unrest, or other natural disasters all over the state it just goes against everything that I was ever taught about the fire service.
 

JeffDS3

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#6
Could be an option to use in case of a incident like San Bernadino, where they can lock down communications if they need to, to keep any bad guys from listening in.
 

inigo88

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#7
Could be an option to use in case of a incident like San Bernadino, where they can lock down communications if they need to, to keep any bad guys from listening in.
If that were the case, the document wouldn't say "An additional requirement was added by the Orange County Fire Chiefs in 2015 to utilize encryption for all Fire Department radios and channels." (See post #1.)

Eng74 said:
I can see the use of encryption in the fire service for only a couple areas, Arson channels and medic to hospital channels. Going with encryption is like a Fire Department that still uses their own threads and not national standard. With strike teams getting sent all over the state for any type of fire, civil unrest, or other natural disasters all over the state it just goes against everything that I was ever taught about the fire service.
I agree. The only department I know of that uses encryption for both Arson and EMS patient reports is San Francisco Fire Dept (see SFFD B7 and EMS 1 and 2: San Francisco County/City Trunking System, San Francisco, California - Scanner Frequencies). I know SF cited HIPAA concerns when choosing to encrypt EMS patient reports, which I think is a bit overkill since no personally identifying information goes out over the air (other than the vague "26 year old male, chief complaint..."). Can't fault them for trying to do the right thing though!
 

brandon

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#8
Hey if Riverside County can encrypt the public works and dog catcher communications, then OC can certainly encrypt their fire channels. Can't let those 951 dirt people "out-do" the OC elites :)
 

allend

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#9
Of course this is just a line item action to talk about in their monthly or quarterly meetings. Back in 2001 when OC Law Enforcement got their way the people as well as county tax payers just took the news and laid down and did not fight back and take any (legal) action. Back prior right before the year 2001 when the CCCS system was implemented The County of Orange did have a backup plan when it came to a 100 percent (Encryption) on the Law Enforcement side. The backup plan was not to encrypt everything but everybody laid back and took no action. Then The County of Orange went thru as planned. The Sheriff at the time had the backup plan which when we look back now we would of had more talk-groups for the citizens of the county to be able to be more informed on breaking news which to this day is a good thing for transparency.

Law Enforcement went the P25 Digital path with 100 percent Encryption and all of The OC fire agencies went the 800 mhz Analog path. There will be no more analog moving forward. It will be all be APCO P25 Digital.

So at the end of the day the news of what The OC Fire Chiefs Association wants to implement will move forward. The writing is all over the wall. The news is out there. Back prior to 2001 there was not much information moving back in forth since the internet was still in the beginning stages. Citizens have the tools now to stay informed.

Keep in mind the countdown is roughly 2 years and counting. The Board of Supervisors will approve it. Concerned citizens use to be more involved and cared a few decades ago. Now the majority of them are dead or dying off in a nursing home. Now people are just concerned on keeping food on their tables not to keeping up on County-Wide communications. Like the other posts above are saying if PSEC is using 256 bit encryption on Dog Catchers and Public Works then SOCAL Fire Departments moving forward will lock everybody out at the cost of whatever happens even if lives are lost. It’s SAD but it’s true. Prime example is the PSEC System in Riverside County. Everything is a 100 percent locked down and the desert bed is HOT as ever on The San Andres Fault line running thru California. It's a recipe for disaster literally.
 
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#10
Just a couple of minor points, for historical accuracy. The LE transition from the old analog 460 system to the trunked 800 system began in 2000, with Tustin PD and Irvine PD being the first to go digital on the 800 system.

Also, the fire agencies were on the 800 trunked analog system for several years before the LE agencies switched from the old 460 system to the trunked 800 system. So it wasn't simply a matter of LE choosing digital while the fire agencies concurrenlty chose analog. The fire agencies simply retained their existing 800 analog when the LE agencies were added to the system using digital encryption.

In addition, the County deliberately chose not to encrypt some of the (less interesting) digital channels, so it's possible that they may chose not to encrypt some of the new digital Fire channels. Not that I'm holding my breath - just sayin'.
 

PaulNDaOC

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#11
I may be wrong but I don't think this is a county decision, but a fire agency one. OCFA is a JPA, not a county department, with representation from all cities in the agency and they all have a vote.
 

f40ph

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#12
Regarding "interoperability" being lost with encryption, you forget there's an easy solution for O.C. and San Bern:

Just have the incoming non-county equipped units come up on VHF and patch that into the working channel.
 
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#13
I didn't mean to imply that the County itself was making the decisions for the agencies. It comes down to a joint decision by the involved agencies. Historically, however, the agencies come to a consensus and all go with the same thing, with the County being responsible for installation and maintenance.

Interoperability has different levels and meanings to different people. All OC agencies are on the same system and have full interoperability using common talkgroups (Pink within cities, Tan between LE and Fire, multiple shared talkgroups between LE agencies, etc.). Even UCI, which has its own state system, has OC system capabilty. UCI PD uses one of the OC Tan channels to coordinate directly with OCFA field units on joint responses (OCFA provides fire services to UCI). Also, OC fire agencies bordering LA County have LA radios for joint responses in border areas. So it's not is if they can't communicate directly with each other. Fire encryption won't change any of that.

About the only major agency without OC radio interoperability is CHP. But they've always been that way, and they don't consider it a big problem. Fire encryption won't result any any loss of interoperability here, either, since they don't have any interoperability now.
 
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#14
I understand OCFA, Anaheim, Huntington Beach and a couple smaller cities have taken delivery of encryption capable APX6000 radios.

I've heard following the San Bernardino terror incident the fire chiefs association is pushing to go encrypted at soonest opportunity.
Why Dose the Fire department need Encrypted Radios? Is it for there Fire SWAT Team that will do the job of the Police SWAT team. I can't understand why anyone wants to encrypt the fire department what's so secretive that the fire department to talk about. "Engine 21 captain 2 engine 21 set out of second lead out" that needs encryption obviously
 

Markb

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#15
Simple answer: they don't.

The idea flies in the face of what the fire service is all about. Making things a big secret will not help them when people start asking why they have to pay so much money for fire services. The cops have a better excuse.

Agencies are being sold a bill of goods my Motorola and others. I am sure Motorola has the ear of DHS and that is why the recommendation came out.
Not to mention that the use of P25 for interior firefighting and other IDLH operations is seriously discouraged by fire labor and standards agencies.

Some OC fire agencies have had encrypted radios for years for Arson, PIO and even the ability to monitor their city's Green channel. Counterterrorism and related operations are conducted on encrypted talkgroups as well.

HIPAA has nothing to do with encryption and radio comms, as it is specifically exempted from HIPAA regs.

Whatever is going on, I will believe it when it actually happens. Things can change at a moment's notice.


Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
 

JeffDS3

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#16
I know some agencies don't encrypt unit to unit channels so people work a fire will switch to that. It isn't repeated or monitored by dispatch and only travels a short distance.
 

allend

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#17
What's interesting is that when you read thru the meeting and agenda notes it says that OCFA is budgeting over 77K to have OCSD program the radios. Keep in mind that OCFA has their own radio department for their department. Why wouldn't their own department program the radios?

It means that if OCSD is programming the radio it means they are the only ones that program the encryption into the radios. OCFA does not handle the encryption programming for The County of Orange. The key to the kingdom is handled by OCSD.
 
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#18
I fear for the future of Fire/Rescue/EMS radio. The trend toward complicated, less reliable, and more expensive digital trunked encrypted radio systems is taking us toward a cliff. There is so much wrong with these 'systems' that are being handed to us by the administrators and sales people. Trunking was never intended for mission-critical public safety operations, and digital audio is detrimental in high noise/wind environments. Critical public safety operations should be conducted on analog conventional (non-trunked) VHF/UHF systems. Simple, reliable, affordable, and easily maintained.
 

SCPD

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#19
Sounds like they'll have a tg for patching and you'll notice the meaning of the vhf interops, 7/8 interops being used more by outsiders coming in that need to interop. While some stray away from this and securing, other entities are going toward it. Strap down the local comms, any thing else we can use the vhf interops, uhf, 7/800 interops or localized interops given to outside agencies which are monitored 24/7.
 

SCPD

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#20
What's interesting is that when you read thru the meeting and agenda notes it says that OCFA is budgeting over 77K to have OCSD program the radios. Keep in mind that OCFA has their own radio department for their department. Why wouldn't their own department program the radios?

It means that if OCSD is programming the radio it means they are the only ones that program the encryption into the radios. OCFA does not handle the encryption programming for The County of Orange. The key to the kingdom is handled by OCSD.
Thus keeping the chain of custody for the key in house. They have the equipment already to do it so one less cost as well as now the fire end can monitor law enforcement. It sounds like they require any radio that can monitor them be handled by there tech. While it may save some money you are on right track.
 
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