how did you get your chief to be ok with the liability end of things
Well...first off we are in a very rural area. None of the fire departments around here use digital or trunked systems, so programming them (from what we have seen) will be quite easy and we aren't really worried about getting any of the radios programmed incorrectly. Also the area we are in, all the licenses are owned by the county, which also makes it easy to determine whether they are legit when programming other agencies radios and also makes it easier to find the licenses you want to program in. Also, because of our small communities and yet large coverage area, between all our agencies we all have each others frequencies programmed, since we often have a lot of mutual-aid.
There really shouldn't be any worry about programming your radios as long as you know what you are doing. One of the things we are going to do just to make sure everything is correct is hire one of the local Motorola dealers to come on out and spend a couple hours teaching a few of us how to use the software correctly.
As to the part brought up about making sure you don't exceed the number of allowed units on your frequencies, that can be easily checked to see how much you are allowed both on this site and the FCC. We are allowed 320 units on most of our frequencies and as I said earlier, all the agencies is our area have each others frequencies programmed in. Well one thing that is different with us compared to most fire and ems agencies is that we don't outfit each person with portables. As a matter of fact, only the captains, chief, and asst chief have portables, and this is how all the agencies in our area operate, so having to worry about exceeding the licensed amount of units allowed on a frequency isn't really a thought in our minds.
The major reason for us going to programming our own radios was a couple years ago we had a major fire where we had to bring every department in over 200 miles (I think it was something like 97 departments, plus the national guard and federal fire fighters) to help put it out. Well when the state showed up with there multi million dollar command center to bridge all our communications together, it didn't work! And now they have been deploying more of these newer ones across the state and the last couple trials I heard also had problems. This is why we want the ability to program radios, we need the ability to communicate with other agencies in major situations especially.
Hope this helped.