I agree to Idea Rural Fire Fighter Communications
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Innovative Solutions in Emergency Management »

Rural Fire Fighter Communications

For communications in a rural area, where fire outbreaks occur, and often there is no radio communications between fire fighters and the many neighboring volunteers who are there fighting the fires alongside the fireman, we could put in GMRS repeaters. The average GMRS Motorola handheld is around $35 per unit. Often farmers and ranches can use these anyway, in the day-to-day functions on the property, but if a repeater network were in the area, these same radios could be the low-cost connecting factor that would bridge the gap between the volunteer fire fighters, farmers and ranches, and the rural fire department!


GMRS repeaters can be built with a couple of older GMRS 20-watt radios, properly programmed, a jumper cable (to link the two together for relaying/repeating the signal) patch kit, and 2 VHF/UHF dipole antennas on a low-cost tower. The total price for one of these could be just a few hundred dollars, including the radio gear, antennas, cabling, jumper relay module, and installation.

Submitted by in Jul 2014

Comments (2)

  1. I live in such a "rural" community. Both my wife and I are ham radio operators as well as FEMA certified instructors for the FEMA "CERT Academy". Ham radio operators and their repeaters have in the past [and will again in the next disaster] play an important role in "fire/disaster communications".

    Particularly in "Mutual Aid" situations where out of town [or out of state] firefighters assisting local firefighter; the "visiting teams" have no idea how to navigate the hills, dead ends, dirt roads in a community that they have never been to! GPS and other "nav aids" are next to useless in rural area, where security gates and other road impediments are NOT shown.

    Having a ham radio op on-board the engine, in full PPG's, assisting the engineer firfighter which way to turn and which way is impassable, is just one way to assist firefighting efforts.

    Many C.E.R.T. team members are instructed in "sheltering in place" procedures and have some---not all---of the necessary knowledge to protect themselves in a v-e-r-y dangerous assignment.

    Having "non-fire personnel" who are familiar with the topography of their town and how to navigate through it, as well as agreeing to accept this dangerous position system would be of great value, I believe.

    Alan...C.E.R.T. team member
    in Aug 2014
  2. It would be ridiculous to change the current laws so that someone could spend money to erect GMRS repeaters when it would be simpler and cheaper to erect a repeater for the frequency that the fire department is already using. GMRS radios can be found for $35 each, but there are no legal repeater-capable GMRS radios at that price range.
    in Aug 2014

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