Completing the job with coordinated communications

First responders know that when they arrive on an incident scene, they need to be prepared to manage any number of complex and rapidly changing situations.

In Chester County, Pa., a large suburb to the west of Philadelphia, a new Project-25 (P25) communications system enables first responders to begin preparing for challenges even before they arrive at the scene.

The new system provided by the Harris Corporation allows responders to open a dedicated channel to provide seamless communications among responders from many departments. This reliable and ready interoperability is one of the critical features of the Harris system, and it helps Chester’s first responders provide mission critical services for the 516,000 residents of Pennsylvania’s fastest-growing county.

A recent house fire in the County put the system to the test.

The Situation: A blaze to be reckoned with

The Lionville Fire Department was quick to react to a 9-1-1 call for a house fire in a residential neighborhood. As the first units arrived, they saw a large two-story home engulfed in flames, from the ground to the attic. The wind-fueled fire was spreading rapidly throughout the home.

Firefighters faced a challenging and potentially dangerous situation that required a coordinated response between multiple units. Coordinated communications were key to the on-scene management of police, fire and EMS units from several nearby towns.

The Challenge: Seamless communications assists first responders to put out the flames

The newly installed P25 Phase 2 system from Harris was a vital link. Chief Holmes was one of the first to arrive on the scene. He grabbed his radio and switched from the main channel to a working frequency, allowing the Chief to give directions to firefighters en route so they could act as soon as they arrived.

“As I’m sizing up what we have out here, I can give orders out so that the arriving units know what we’re getting started with,” Chief Holmes said.

Chief George Turner, the West Whiteland Fire Company Fire Chief, was also on the scene and he noted the effectiveness of the new communications system. “We had four different departments already assigned to a specific frequency,” said Chief Turner. “You can hear radios operating inside, and we can clearly understand the team’s instructions and requests.”

The Solution: Completing the job with coordinated communications

With the help of the Harris communications system, Chester County fire departments worked together to contain the blaze and prevent further danger to neighboring homes.

“Harris has put together a system that I don’t believe anyone else could have done,” said Downingtown Retired Police Chief Jim McGowan.

“They exceeded our expectations,” Fire Chief Turner agreed. “This system has paid for itself.”

With the new Harris P25 communications network, responders can focus on the mission, knowing that their radios will reliably deliver mission critical information. Whether it is a massive house fire or other emergency, public safety officials and the people of Chester County know they can use the new Harris communications system to accomplish the mission.