Philadelphia fire department

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station32

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For fire ground ops are they on the trunked system I am getting conflicting information also are they encrypted? If they are does any one know why they are encrypted what is the reasoning when police is in the clear. Thanks in advance
 

W8RMH

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For fire ground ops are they on the trunked system I am getting conflicting information also are they encrypted? If they are does any one know why they are encrypted what is the reasoning when police is in the clear. Thanks in advance
"Latest News Update Posted on 2004-07-12 08:15:53

PPD is digital but very little encryption is used, even on sensitive groups, except for fireground channels which are 100% encrypted."

It was right there on the Philly page.

Philadelphia Trunking System, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Scanner Frequencies

There is no reasoning for encryption. It is used to deny public access to the citizens (who just happen to be the ones who are paying for their new toys). This is a first however. I have never seen FG talk groups being encrypted unless the entire system was.
 
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chankel

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I have never clearly understood PFD's reasoning behind this. A good reason to encrypt specific channels would be to protect sensitive patient information going between field providers and hospitals, but Phila doesn't seem to make any use of their radio system for this; instead they use the 1-way HASTE system. I would suspect their medics use cell phones for field-to-hospital communications, but on a tangentially related point they have received a lot of criticism from some other EMS personnel for not having a fully implemented EMD system or tiered EMS response. How true that is I don't know.
 

n3obl

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There is an EMS Dispatch repeater in WV. that is p25 which uses ADP encryption full time.

Frank
 

W2GLD

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The main reason you're seeing so much encryption on fire and ems channels is because people truly do not understand the whole HIPA crap the government dropped on us a few years ago. Many higher ups who make the decisions on radio systems are lead into believing they must encrypt their traffic to comply; a sales tactic used by Motorola, M/A-COM (Harris), etc for years...

Stupid, a waste of taxpayer money, and even the Fed's don't know how to use encryption most of the time. The FBI, ICE, DEA are in the clear more often than not, especially around Philadelphia.

Encryption belongs on almost all Federal communications and certain local/state law enforcement channels such as tactical teams and surveillance channels. It generally has no place in fire or ems; unless you're Philadelphia and have tons of ambulance chasers and new media tycoons that like to cause issues for public-safety; thus the reason Philadelphia Fire Department is 100% encrypted and will be forever into the future. Eventually, ALL public-safety talkgroups in Philadelphia and many other major cities will be encrypted...
 

phillydjdan

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The way I understand it, the fire commissioner ordered all fireground comms to be encrypted for privacy when the system was being built. It can't be due to HIPA, because if it was, they wouldn't be broadcasting patient reports over the unencrypted fire channels like they do every day. Some I have spoken to say it's so nobody can hear the guys curse when they're excited, others have said it's to try and keep sensitive conversations (like those about fire victims, etc) from being heard. The problem with that, though, is the IC must still come over the clear channel and tell the dispatcher what they have, so it defeats the purpose, I think. As for the PD side, they don't encrypt the district channels, but there are a slew of unpublished channels for narcotics, etc, that use encryption. The problem with those channels, though, is the encryption can be turned off, and about half the cops turn it off, so you can still hear what they say (cursing and all, lol) half the time, if you happen to know the talkgroups. (No, I won't divulge that info)
 

W2GLD

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The way I understand it, the fire commissioner ordered all fireground comms to be encrypted for privacy when the system was being built. It can't be due to HIPA, because if it was, they wouldn't be broadcasting patient reports over the unencrypted fire channels like they do every day. Some I have spoken to say it's so nobody can hear the guys curse when they're excited, others have said it's to try and keep sensitive conversations (like those about fire victims, etc) from being heard. The problem with that, though, is the IC must still come over the clear channel and tell the dispatcher what they have, so it defeats the purpose, I think. As for the PD side, they don't encrypt the district channels, but there are a slew of unpublished channels for narcotics, etc, that use encryption. The problem with those channels, though, is the encryption can be turned off, and about half the cops turn it off, so you can still hear what they say (cursing and all, lol) half the time, if you happen to know the talkgroups. (No, I won't divulge that info)
It's evident from your response that you didn't fully read my post before commenting. I didn't say that they were encrypted because of HIPA, just that many agencies are woo'd into believing they are HIPA compliant just because they have encryption, a sales technique.

As for the PD, yes district talkgroups are NOT encrypted today; but you can count on them being encrypted when the new system comes online in the next year or two. In fact, you can count on almost all public-safety and airport operations being encrypted in Philadelphia in the end...
 

phillydjdan

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I absolutely understand what you're saying. I was just reiterating that the reason can't be expected to be due to HIPA. I'm with ya! And you're probably right about full-time encryption. It's sad to know that eventually I'll have nothing to listen to. Then I'll have to go back to CB, and nobody wants that! lol
 

captaincab

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The main reason you're seeing so much encryption on fire and ems channels is because people truly do not understand the whole HIPA crap the government dropped on us a few years ago. Many higher ups who make the decisions on radio systems are lead into believing they must encrypt their traffic to comply; a sales tactic used by Motorola, M/A-COM (Harris), etc for years...

Stupid, a waste of taxpayer money, and even the Fed's don't know how to use encryption most of the time. The FBI, ICE, DEA are in the clear more often than not, especially around Philadelphia.

Encryption belongs on almost all Federal communications and certain local/state law enforcement channels such as tactical teams and surveillance channels. It generally has no place in fire or ems; unless you're Philadelphia and have tons of ambulance chasers and new media tycoons that like to cause issues for public-safety; thus the reason Philadelphia Fire Department is 100% encrypted and will be forever into the future. Eventually, ALL public-safety talkgroups in Philadelphia and many other major cities will be encrypted...
excuse me but your not even from philadelphia so who are you to make rude comments about tow truck drivers which im sure is what you meant when you said ambulance chasers cuz when your from philly then you can talk about philly oh and the reason why fire ground is encrypted is a security issue same reason why alot of the pd talk groups are.
 

w2xq

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excuse me but your not even from philadelphia so who are you to make rude comments about tow truck drivers which im sure is what you meant when you said ambulance chasers cuz when your from philly then you can talk about philly oh and the reason why fire ground is encrypted is a security issue same reason why alot of the pd talk groups are.
Err, you put your foot in your mouth. Until the end of last year W2GLD was a long-time resident of Pennsylvania and then Cherry Hill. He knows the business as well as anyone I know in the industry. I wouldn't brag about Philadelphia. Five murders on Jan 1 and counting...
 

W2GLD

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Err, you put your foot in your mouth. Until the end of last year W2GLD was a long-time resident of Pennsylvania and then Cherry Hill. He knows the business as well as anyone I know in the industry. I wouldn't brag about Philadelphia. Five murders on Jan 1 and counting...
Thanks Tom, I had harsher words but they are better left unsaid... Happy New Year, and good to see you one the forums...
 

phillydjdan

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As a resident of the city of Philadelphia, I can attest to the fact that tow tuck drivers are a problem in this city. Not all of them, mind you, but a lot of them. There was a recent incident (within the last couple of years) where 1 driver was run over by a rival. I've also seen on TV where they filmed in Philly and the guys acted like they had turf rights, nearly threatening the rivals. In Bucks County they have contracted towing outfits, and they are on a rotating "on call" schedule. Philly would be see a vast improvement in tow operations if they adopted a similar strategy.

I'd also like to add that the powers that be who are in charge of these digital radio systems have no clue. Go ahead and encrypt everything. You know what will happen? Hardcore listeners will buy ebay radios and illegally program them. Hackers will figure out the encryption keys. Radio techs will leak the keys. People will even steal radios from unattended vehicles, etc. You're never going to have 100% privacy. Someone will always figure out a way around it, legal or not. Is it right? Nope. But will people do it? You bet! They should stop trying to make all their radios private and learn to use things like, I dunno, the cellphones they all have on them, when they have sensitive info to pass along. And what the hell is so sensitive that they are talking about anyway? Government secrets? CIA stuff? Please, guys. It's not that big of a deal if someone hears you say you located a dead body on the 2nd floor of the fire building. I think i'm done my rant for the moment lol.
 

Septa3371CSX1

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I know the PPD changed policy in dispatching auto accidents in that they don't put them over the air but send them to the officer's MDT. Then again PPD adopted a bad policy of not responding to accidents. The city is so screwy it isn't even funny. Strapped encryption for fire department talkgroups but only selectable encryption for sensitive police talkgroups. I doubt they ever consult the actual users of the system in trying to develop improvements.
 

garys

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The main reason you're seeing so much encryption on fire and ems channels is because people truly do not understand the whole HIPA crap the government dropped on us a few years ago. Many higher ups who make the decisions on radio systems are lead into believing they must encrypt their traffic to comply; a sales tactic used by Motorola, M/A-COM (Harris), etc for years...

Stupid, a waste of taxpayer money, and even the Fed's don't know how to use encryption most of the time. The FBI, ICE, DEA are in the clear more often than not, especially around Philadelphia.

Encryption belongs on almost all Federal communications and certain local/state law enforcement channels such as tactical teams and surveillance channels. It generally has no place in fire or ems; unless you're Philadelphia and have tons of ambulance chasers and new media tycoons that like to cause issues for public-safety; thus the reason Philadelphia Fire Department is 100% encrypted and will be forever into the future. Eventually, ALL public-safety talkgroups in Philadelphia and many other major cities will be encrypted...
You should put this post on a brass plaque and mount copies on every city or town hall in the country. Encryption to deny the media access is likely to end up causing problems for municipalities as the courts give the media a lot of latitude under the First Amendment.

There is NO reason to encrypt EMS communications because there are specific HIPAA exemptions in the regulations for emergency communications.
 

garys

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As a resident of the city of Philadelphia, I can attest to the fact that tow tuck drivers are a problem in this city. Not all of them, mind you, but a lot of them. There was a recent incident (within the last couple of years) where 1 driver was run over by a rival. I've also seen on TV where they filmed in Philly and the guys acted like they had turf rights, nearly threatening the rivals. In Bucks County they have contracted towing outfits, and they are on a rotating "on call" schedule. Philly would be see a vast improvement in tow operations if they adopted a similar strategy.
Interestingly, they solved the problem in Los Angeles back in the early 1960s. The city council of Philadelphia should watch the episode of Dragnet where this story was told.

In MA, I don't know of any city or town, or the state police who allow free lance tow trucks to race to scenes to grab cars. All tows are either called by the PD on a rotational basis or the drivers of the cars involved can call their own tows as long as the cars are not obstructing traffic.

It's not exactly rocket surgery.

I hope captaincab approves of this message.
 

jcardani

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There is NO reason to encrypt EMS communications because there are specific HIPAA exemptions in the regulations for emergency communications.
This is correct, as long as no identifiable information (like name, SSN, etc.) about the patient is broadcast over the air, it is not a violation of HIPAA. As a former internal auditor of a hospital, I attended many HIPAA classes.
 
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