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Firefighter Killed in Green Bay

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RevGary

Senior Tropical Storm Analyst, TSRC, in Alabama
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A Green Bay Fire Department Firefighter was killed while fighting a residential fire today, Sunday, August 13. Full details are not yet available, but a poor 800 Mhz communications issue may possibly have been a contributing factor in this tragic loss. More info as it becomes available.

In the mean time, please join me in Prayer for the family and for the members of the Green Bay Fire Department who must deal with this death. These are always difficult to cope with and especially more so if the junk 800 radio system was even partly to blame in not getting flashover information to the firefighter in time.

We will post additional information as it becomes available.
 

red8

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Messages
614
Location
denham springs la.
RevGary
My thoughts and Prayers are with you and members of the Green Bay Fire Deparment. I was a deputy sheriff for 23 years and I always
thought of people that worked in Public Safety (First Responders) and
Fire service were all part of a Brotherhood of people that provide a vital service to the communities of America. And that when ever one
no matter what his agency be it EMS,Fire, and Police. The loss is felt
through all . May the Good Lord Bless and hold the family together during this time of sorrow
red8
 

a1emt

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My thoughts and prayers to the family of the fallen brother and the Green Bay FD.

Gary, were you monitoring the fireground traffic from the scene?
 

RevGary

Senior Tropical Storm Analyst, TSRC, in Alabama
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a1emt said:
My thoughts and prayers to the family of the fallen brother and the Green Bay FD.

Gary, were you monitoring the fireground traffic from the scene?
We were monitoring the system, shortly after this incident occured, from 6 miles away since all fireground traffic is on the TRS system. There are 6 available TRS frequencies available not including the control channel. This system is shared by GBPD, GBFD, city transit, Ashwaubenon PD, Ashwaubenon FD, the nature center, the jail and some administrative members of the DPW and Street Department with nearly 60 talk groups. I repeat ALL SHARED on SIX channels. The local 800 system is absolute garbage in the opinion of many. The system does not allow for reliable PORTABLE communications from inside buildings, parking ramps, basements, elevators and such. When a lot of traffic is taking place and no channels are availabe, a unit trying to access the system will receive a tone from the radio indicating that everything is busy. For a firefighter using a Scott Airpack with a mask mounted portable in an active fire scene, it is not a good scenario - even under ideal conditions. As we know, working fires produce plasma. The 800 signals can be severely affected by that plasma in reducing transmission range. This, in addition to all channels being used up by various talk groups, may possibly have created a situation where "FALL BACK" orders were not heard. This is what many former communications engineers have been saying all along, including me... 800 Mhz systems for Public Safety are killing Public Safety personnel. This may possibly be another sad example of why departments should vacate 800-900 and go back to VHF and UHF conventional for active, dangerous scenes. We are truly saddened by the continuing loss of life because the large communications companies had a "better" idea. Unfortunately that "idea" leaves Public Safety personnel vulnerable in many instances.
 
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red8

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Sounds like to me there's too many users on that system. I mean your city has gotten all of those agencies on a six channel system
which is really five channels and a control channel. Normally if an
emergency button is activated on the radio it would free up a repeater to transmitt traffic.
 

RevGary

Senior Tropical Storm Analyst, TSRC, in Alabama
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red8 said:
Sounds like to me there's too many users on that system. I mean your city has gotten all of those agencies on a six channel system
which is really five channels and a control channel. Normally if an
emergency button is activated on the radio it would free up a repeater to transmitt traffic.

Thank you for your observations. The problem as some of us see it is that the PORTABLE has to be able to transmit that emergency access signal OUT of that environment for the control channel to receive it. 800 signals can't penetrate some hostile environments such as at this fireground with any reliability. Therefore, even if the "E" button were depressed, the control channel would never receive it. If this had been a VHF or UHF system, this most likely would not have been an issue.

We are just making friends and influencing people, here, but seriously, 800 - 900mhz systems are being passed off by the high pressure corporate sales persons as a magic bullet, when in fact, these garbage systems are responsible, in many cases, for injuries and loss of life because THEY ARE NOT RELIABLE in the same environments that the lower frequency systems ARE reliable. And that is our quarrel with the large comm companies. In our opinion, they put profits first and public safety personnel lives second.

As a person who has to deal with the injured and the deceased in these cases, I can only hope that the administrators who have not yet purchased these 'marvelous' systems will do their homework and stay on rebanded VHF and UHF.

Thank you all for your kind words and prayers. The family of deceased Firefighter Arnold Wolff appreciates your kindness and caring.
 

1268

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revgary, My deepest sympathy to my brother and sister firefighters in Green bay and Wisconsin . I met Firefighter Wolff while taking a EMT class in the early 90's, he was a founding member of the Mischcot ambulance service and just a outstanding man. In regards to there 800mhz, it's junk plain and simple, there better off with VHF-HI.
 
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RevGary

Senior Tropical Storm Analyst, TSRC, in Alabama
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Messages
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1268 said:
revgary, My deepest sympathy to my brother and sister firefighters in Green Bay and Wisconsin . I met Firefighter Wolff while taking a EMT class in the early 90's, he was a founding member of the Mischcot Ambulance Service and just a outstanding man. In regards to their 800mhz, it's junk plain and simple, they're better off with VHF-HI.

Thank you for your kind words and your professional comment about the equipment. Arnie will be missed by the entire community. His dedication to saving lives on the job and his dedication to his family was admirable.
 

nslt204

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Messages
88
Location
Port Washington, WI
Well after reading your response a couple of times I still don't see if you monitored the "radio problem" you infer occurred.
You use "possible they missed a fall back order".
Did they or didn't they?
As for the system "sounding like garbage" are you using a scanner or a radio on the TRS?
There can be a wide difference of quality between an actual radio set up for use on a TRS and a scanner and from scanner to scanner for that matter.
You are correct, staying on a talk group for tactical operations is not a good idea. Neither is staying on a VHF or UHF repeater, ask Hackensack NJ FD. Tactical operations like working in a burring building should be on a direct frequency tactical channel. In any band.
I wouldn't be so quick to place blame on a radio system if you don't have first hand knowledge or published information of such.
As for TRS remember that radios and radio groups can be assigned a system priority so FD & PD radios will get priority over Public Works, Buses, Dog Catcher, Whatever.
I have information from someone that was working that scene. While they did lose "contact" with the individual they don't know it was a radio or system problem. It may be because he lost consciousness. They are not yet clear on what transpired.
Please don't use this tragedy to fuel your personal agendas against a particular system or technology with out proof.
I believe that Engineer Wolff's memory is best served if we wait for the investigation to be done before we place blame if there is any to be placed.
Remember Firefighting is a dangerous profession. Accidents happen.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Wolff family and the Brothers and Sisters of the Green Bay Fire Department.
Scott Ziegler
Lieutenant
North Shore Fire Dept
Milwaukee Co Wisconsin

RevGary said:
Thank you for your observations. The problem as some of us see it is that the PORTABLE has to be able to transmit that emergency access signal OUT of that environment for the control channel to receive it. 800 signals can't penetrate some hostile environments such as at this fireground with any reliability. Therefore, even if the "E" button were depressed, the control channel would never receive it. If this had been a VHF or UHF system, this most likely would not have been an issue.

We are just making friends and influencing people, here, but seriously, 800 - 900mhz systems are being passed off by the high pressure corporate sales persons as a magic bullet, when in fact, these garbage systems are responsible, in many cases, for injuries and loss of life because THEY ARE NOT RELIABLE in the same environments that the lower frequency systems ARE reliable. And that is our quarrel with the large comm companies. In our opinion, they put profits first and public safety personnel lives second.

As a person who has to deal with the injured and the deceased in these cases, I can only hope that the administrators who have not yet purchased these 'marvelous' systems will do their homework and stay on rebanded VHF and UHF.

Thank you all for your kind words and prayers. The family of deceased Firefighter Arnold Wolff appreciates your kindness and caring.
 

rdale

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"This, in addition to all channels being used up by various talk groups, may possibly have created a situation where "FALL BACK" orders were not heard. "

1) What evidence do you have that all frequencies were in use? Normally FD/PD ops are set to override lesser agencies if the system is full, did that not happen? Was it because of programming error or system problems?

2) Who orderered the evac? Did others hear it?

The article mentions NOTHING about radio problems causing this death, so either you've got some inside info (that not even the union rep would discuss) or...
 

RevGary

Senior Tropical Storm Analyst, TSRC, in Alabama
Joined
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Messages
790
Remember - I stated "MAY POSSIBLY", NOT 'did'. I have no personal information that was not made available to every other listener in the area who was tuned in. It is known however, that the system in question has had issues in the past and there are places where it just doesn't work with portables compared to what was in place before this system was installed.


We will wait, as everyone, for the State report to be filed.

In the mean time, we will concentrate ONLY on remembering a fallen brother...
 
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rdale

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Hard to concentrate on the facts when someone throws fantasy into the mix... Sad to see someone in the scanner world make such accusations without a shred of evidence - this is something I'd expect from the media, not a RR user.
 

ofd8001

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Louisville, KY
I've been a fire chief for many a year. Right now, the fire department is still in a state of shock. They need to grieve and honor their fallen brother.

All would be best served by allowing the grief process run its course at the present.

I'm sure all would like to know the facts. When the time is appropriate, those facts will be determined. The time will come to look into the circumstances to see if anything went wrong, or it was one of those things that no one can control, which happen from time to time.

We too are saddened by the loss of a brave and I'm sure, dedicated soul.
 
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SCPD

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65,126
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Virginia
Our prayers with the family and the fire department of Green Bay.

Chris Ebert
Assistant Chief
Elkhorn Area Fire Department
 
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