RealNews

A New Weapon for Firefighters

The fire station’s bell, followed by a dispatcher’s teletype message, had Battalion Chief Peter J. Hart speeding off in an instant: there was a fire burning out of control on the 20th floor of an East Side apartment building. The first fire engines and ladders had already arrived at the scene. But it was Chief Hart who was now rolling toward the middle-of-the-night fire with the department’s new special weapon: a high-powered device called a Command Post Radio, which has fundamentally changed the way commanders communicate in high-rise fires and subway emergencies in New York City. Once he carried the 22-pound, briefcase-size device to the 19th floor spot, where the operations post had been set up to direct the front line firefighters, Chief Hart knew that no matter what, he would be able to speak clearly with the other chiefs stationed downstairs in the lobby of 300 East 54th Street. That night last month, he could quickly relay any information about the injured, receive any reports of trapped residents called into the dispatcher, keep other commanders up-to-date on the progress in fighting the fire and request relief crews, while firefighters struggled to put down this particularly nasty blaze. Full Story

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