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Danish ‘real-life’ tests prove TETRA is the technology for fire brigades

Published on 9 July 2009

A member of SINE, the Danish public safety network, during situational fire tests on Sepura's STP8000 TETRA radio
A member of SINE during fire tests on Sepura's STP8000 TETRA radio

Firefighter training exercises show real benefits of TETRA radios

SINE, the Danish public safety network, has undertaken ‘real-life' situational fire tests on Sepura's STP8000 hand-held radio that have impressed fire-fighters in Denmark.

The radio's performance was tested on board one of Europe's largest passenger car ferries, while in another exercise the STP8000 was exposed to extreme temperatures in a simulated house fire.

In both tests, the radios maintained loud and clear communications, in challenging conditions.


Case 1 - House fire with +400°C temperatures


In a training exercise staged by Vordingborg Fire Brigade, Sepura's STP8000 was put through its paces while directly exposed to the heat from flames at a house fire.

Officers outside the house could hear every word during the trial, even when the temperature of the fire passed 400C and the plastic of the radio's antenna started to soften.

The test demonstrated the radio's ruggedness and build quality, illustrating how the radio is able to withstand these particularly challenging circumstances.

A fireman's radio is normally carried under his protective tunic and linked to a remote microphone, rather than being directly exposed to the heat emitted from the fire. The STP8000 had no problems in enduring such high temperatures as prevailed in this test.

Nikolaj Marquart, a senior officer with SINE, the public safety network in Denmark, undertook the test, and for ten minutes he stood inside the burning house, sweating while witnessing how the radio handled the heat.

"During the test, the face mask started to melt and wires between the radio and the remote microphone short circuited," he said.

"In fact, the fireman's protective suit and mask, as well as accessories, were damaged to the point that the suit became unusable - but the STP8000 continued to operate."

Outside, Brian Larsen, who managed the exercise for the Fire Brigade, talked to Nikolaj, saying: "I had no difficulty hearing him. The sound was perfect throughout most of the test."

Case 2 - Stena Saga ferry

The Stena Saga cruise ferry carries 2,000 passengers and 510 cars between the Danish port of Fredrikshavn and the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

Fredrikshavn Fire Brigade has to be ready and equipped to handle any fire emergency on the ferry. An exercise was conducted to assess the performance of the STP8000 in communicating throughout the decks of the ship, from the bridge right down to the depths of the hull.

Sven Ingvardsen's fire brigade team positioned one radio on the bridge - the 11th deck on the ship - and from there attempted to communicate with other STP8000 radios. These were moved down through the lower decks, to assess radio reception throughout the ship's metal infrastructure - an environment that normally impedes radio transmission and reception.

As expected by the fire-fighters, the signal weakened halfway down the ship, but once the STP8000's Repeater functionality was brought into play communication was loud and clear, even deep down in the vessel. This was thanks to the STP8000's 1.8 watts RF transmission power - the highest of any hand-held in its class. "It was excellent. We were impressed," said Sven.

Even when taken into a room enclosed completely by metal walls, the STP8000 continued to perform effectively. "We left one radio there and tried to gain contact from different decks. On the top deck the radio had to be moved around to find a signal - but it could be done," he added.

Sepura's STP8000 also impressed Lolland Fire brigade, which is responsible for the safety on board ferries between the Danish ports of Rodby and Puttgarden.

In the past, analogue radio systems provided only limited coverage, and were the only option. "Now, we can use the STP8000 in a ship's steel hull where radio communication had previously been almost impossible," said Finn Antonisen, Lolland's fire chief.


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