Volunteer Fire and P25

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colby4601

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Cost of running network decreases

[size=+2] Cost of running network decreases [/size]


BY HEATHER POLISCHUK, THE LEADER-POST NOVEMBER 26, 2009


Talk just got cheaper for volunteer and other rural fire departments that had been worried an upcoming radio system changeover was either going to burn them financially or leave them out in the cold.

By the end of next year, a new public safety radio telecommunications network will be fully operational and close to 2,200 public safety workers from across the province -- including fire, police and EMS -- are expected to make the switch from SaskTel's disappearing FleetNet system. The new network is being built on the existing SaskPower/RCMP system at a cost of $130 million.

The new system is meant to connect emergency services from across the province, but the downfall has been cost. Each radio is estimated to cost $5,000 and the system operating cost per month per radio is $90 -- a far cry from the $29 to $38 users had been paying.

"The system needs to allow all users to be able to talk to one another," Corrections, Public Safety and Policing Minister Yogi Huyghebaert said Wednesday. "This capacity becomes vitally important during large emergencies, particularly (those) that occur in rural Saskatchewan ... It was made very clear to us by many users -- particularly local fire services in rural Saskatchewan -- (that) they do not have the financial capacity to pay the full costs of the monthly operating fee."

Huyghebaert said a solution has been found, including raising 9-1-1 fees to 83 cents per month -- an increase of 24 cents. The additional 24 cents mean monthly operating cost drops to $40 per month per radio.

Huyghebaert added that 1,610 radios will be provided free to non-government agencies based on need and ability to pay, at a cost to the province of $4.5 million. He told reporters agencies are expected to receive two radios, although some may need more and others less.

David Marit, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, said rural fire departments can now look forward to the changeover with less worry. The fact rural agencies don't have to pay as much per month and will receive two radios means they have to raise far less money for new equipment.

"I heard it from our membership that two will work (in many communities) and in some cases they may need a third, so the communities are getting together and saying, 'OK, if we do need a third, we'll share that cost,' " he said.

"That makes a big difference."

Marit said the new system will also help cut back on cases where multiple rural fire departments or other agencies spent time and money responding to emergencies when, in fact, it turned out they weren't needed.

© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post
 

Jay911

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This is a battle I'm going to have to fight in the next couple years. True P25 systems will be able to use anyone's P25 radio, and more than just Motorola are in the business of making P25 radios (and I would not imagine all are $5k). Departments are going to have to evaluate how they really need to use radios. In the 80s, a department might have had one or two radios and the individual volunteers - if they were lucky! - had a pager. On my current volunteer department, when I joined it in 1991, we had 8 radios kept at the station for active responders only, and a fleet of pagers for members. The nearby city department has a radio for each riding position (i.e. hydrant, nozzleman, equipment, driver, officer, etc.) with no personally-issued radios.

When the new system comes in, I'm not sure that I won't have to go the same way as the city department - limiting costs by restricting radios to just the assigned positions and not having any crews take radios home. That's definitely not how I want to do it, but costs might restrict my options.

Alberta has indicated that there will be no costs borne by the users for the system itself, which I have taken to mean that there will be no access fees, but we'll see.
 

mobile1

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Cost how much ?

Thanks for the link Colby. Huyghebaert said $4.5 million for 1,610 radios =$2795.00 per radio. So the cost to the Province is not $5000.00 for each radio. Do you think he may given us a little too much information here ?
 

colby4601

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Personally, I don't see how two radios will suffice for a Volunteer Fire Service. Our service runs two engines, one radio per truck and then at least two portables. That's 4 radios and our service isn't even a busy one. For those in Saskatchewan, imagine the radios needed for Balgonie Fire Rescue when they respond to accidents on the TransCanada or Swift Current Fire who respond with multiple engines not only to fires, but also EMS calls. I think a lot more needs to be looked at here. We can't just get by with the bare minimum for appropriate communication. We're dealing with peoples property and most importantly, their lives.

I do, however, applaud the government for lowering the operating costs on radios for FIre Services - EMS were already receiving theirs at an extremely reduced cost or no cost at all.
 

Jay911

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Colby, Redwood Meadows has 6 pieces of apparatus (two engines, two brush trucks, one rescue, and one tanker/tender). If every truck was completely full on staff, we would have between 22 and 25 positions to fill (depending on how many you load out the rescue with). Coincidentally we have roughly 25 members. Personally, I would rather that every member have their own radio which they carry 24/7. I am in full agreement with you that departments do not get by in this day and age with two radios. My father worked on a department in 1980 with trucks that sat two people (and 3 more clung for dear life to the tailboard), and had one radio mounted in the truck, and, with luck, one portable (the luck being whether or not it held a charge, or could reach Dispatch). I don't have a copy of it right now, but I am sure that the National Fire Protection Association's standards on interior firefighting do not consider one radio to be acceptable, whether it be one per department, one per entry team, or whatever.

As for the varying price, I am not surprised at the difference. For one thing, as I said before, there are a lot of vendors out there making P25 radios, and only a few of them are that expensive. Second, buying in bulk definitely gets you a discount from companies like Motorola and Kenwood and etc. - especially if the bulk is on the order of thousands of units.

EDIT: One thing we are doing which may or may not work for you is to buy some radios now as budget allows. This is particularly doable if you have a system you can use them on now as your council or budgetary committee likes that kind of flexibility. ;) Redwood has spent the past 2 years buying a mobile radio or two every year, one per truck. They are XTL5000 Motorola radios, and while they do cost about $5k apiece, they offer the ability to be used on Calgary's trunk system now, and easily reprogrammed to the P25 system in the future (providing it is a true P25 system, which it should be). We should have all of our mobiles by the time the P25 system comes live. I don't know if there is a radio that does "normal" EDACS and P25, so people on the FleetNet system might have issues, and people using conventional VHF or UHF will definitely not be able to use this plan. Just something to think about.
 
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mobile1

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Cost ?

In October 2007 MA-Com price US $ for 7100ip VHF radio $2875.00 for the first radio. Purchase 5000 get 20% off / 5000-to-15000 get 25% off / 15000-to-30000 get 30% off / 300000-to-250000 radios you will get 35% off =$1865.75 US $ per radio. I hope Harris will do better than this !
 

SCPD

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In October 2007 MA-Com price US $ for 7100ip VHF radio $2875.00 for the first radio. Purchase 5000 get 20% off / 5000-to-15000 get 25% off / 15000-to-30000 get 30% off / 300000-to-250000 radios you will get 35% off =$1865.75 US $ per radio. I hope Harris will do better than this !
Any Pricing model is thrown out the window when it comes to a bid or RFP/RFQ. Pricing will depend on how hungry the vendor is or how desperate to win the bid for what ever reason.
Good example:
MA-Com / Harris Vs. Motorola in the Clark County Nevada radio upgrade project. MA-Com came in with super low pricing and beat Mot big time. somewhere I read some where Motorola cried foul, not sure what ever came of it.

In some cases the discount may not be obvious, looks like normal pricing discount, buy one for $ 3000, get 30 % off for 500 or more until you read about the fine print, buy 5 get two free....

I seen the opposite occur where Ma-Com and Mot. jacked up the price, I guess a polite way saying no thanks were not interested right now, maybe next time.

Twice I heard Motorola and MA-Com have given radios away, asked only for a support and services contract.
 
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