Download PDF version

Oakland County is enhancing the safety of residents, guests and businesses by improving the ability of first responders to communicate with each other during emergencies, including seamless interoperability with neighboring counties as well as state and federal agencies, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has announced.

ASTRO 25 LMR network

The county has entered into a contract with Motorola Solutions to replace its aging public safety radio system with the ASTRO 25 land-mobile radio (LMR) network which will interface with the statewide Michigan Public Safety Communication System (MPSCS). Oakland County will be the first user in Michigan to utilize Motorola Solutions 'Phase 2' technology that will more than double the number of users on one system.

Oakland County always pursues innovation to provide outstanding services to our residents and businesses,” Patterson said. “That’s why we collaborated with our cities, villages, and townships to identify and implement leading-edge communications technology that will improve public safety for years to come.

Enhancing public safety communications

We’re ecstatic to work with Oakland County to provide them with mission-critical communication solutions"

Motorola Solutions Regional Vice President Chris Lonnett said his company will be working with Oakland County to take the county’s public safety communications to the next level.

We’re ecstatic to work with Oakland County to provide them with mission-critical communication solutions for their first responders,” Lonnett said. “Oakland County has long been a role model for agencies working together to improve public safety. This will be a great step forward to improve regional communications interoperability.

Fire fighters paging

In addition to interoperability, the ASTRO 25 land-mobile radio (LMR) network will provide Oakland County’s public safety departments countywide paging of fire fighters with new 700/800 MHz pagers.

This new partnership with Motorola Solutions will launch Oakland County into a whole new level of emergency communications,” said Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard. “Technology is constantly changing and this investment will give our first responders the tools they need to serve our residents. Once again, Oakland County will set a standard for other counties to follow and emulate.

Two-way radio system

Oakland County’s contract with Motorola Solutions requires one percent grade of service which means 99 out of 100 times the two-way radio system will be fully available to a first responder. Also, the contract requires the new radio system to cover 97 percent of the county outdoors and 95 percent of the county while in buildings.

31-site simulcast system

A 31-site simulcast system will ensure Motorola Solutions provides reliable and dependable communications

A 31-site simulcast system will help ensure Motorola Solutions provides reliable and dependable communications that will provide full-system capacity to every first responder in Oakland County.

"The idea that this new radio system will actually become a reality is extremely exciting,” said Farmington Hills Fire Chief Jon Unruh. “The communication system will give us capabilities we haven’t had before and enhance the service we provide to Oakland County residents while providing reliable and dependable communication for our first responders."

APX mobile

West Bloomfield Township Police Chief Michael Patton agrees. “After a comprehensive evaluation process, the selection of a Motorola Solutions will provide enhanced mission-critical, push-to-talk radio communications to the next generation of Oakland County public safety members as well as greater interoperability with our state and federal public safety partners,” Patton said.

Both Patton and Unruh were members of the selection committee for Oakland County’s new communications system.

Portable two-way radios

The US$ 46.9 million project will replace more than 3,500 portable radios and about 2,000 radios in emergency vehicles with Motorola Solutions APX mobile and portable two-way radios for best-in-class communications for public safety officers. The radios are equipped with Wi-Fi and support wireless programming.

Plus, the project will replace 76 radio consoles at the 20 Oakland County 911 public safety answering points or dispatch centers with new Motorola Solutions MCC 7500E dispatch consoles. These consoles will be tightly integrated with the existing Motorola Solutions CallWorks 911 platform which will maximize the capabilities for emergency call taking.

The project will replace 76 radio consoles at the 20 Oakland County 911 public safety answering points

Large-scale emergency recues

The system will be built with multiple layers of redundancy to withstand large-scale emergencies such as tornadoes or floods. The design includes 31 sites, 12 channels on the 700/800MHz, and will be built to Project 25 'Phase 1' and 'Phase 2' compliance standards.

Oakland County’s Courts and Law Enforcement Management Information System (CLEMIS), which uses innovative computer technology for criminal justice and public safety applications, will utilize APX Radio Management to maintain and update the fleet of radios through a central database.

APX Radio Management

Implementing the complete ASTRO 25 land-mobile radio (LMR) network will take up to three years. Over the next six months, Oakland County and Motorola Solutions will work together to design the 31-site system to submit to MPSCS for review.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

How Technology Helps London Fire Brigade With Incident Command
How Technology Helps London Fire Brigade With Incident Command

Drones give Incident Commanders an aerial view, increasing their situational awareness of fires and helping them to develop tactics to tackle them. Station Officer Lee Newman details how the technology was implemented by London Fire Brigade and the continued benefits. Identify external risks The Grenfell Tower fire has resulted in revisions to several operational procedures and the introduction of new equipment within the Brigade. A few months after the fire, the Brigade was tasked with setting up a trial to test the feasibility of having a drone capability to identify external risks and assess building stability at incidents, providing essential safety information that could facilitate ongoing internal firefighting operations. Implement the use of drones The Brigade implemented the use of drones and acquired a Matrice 210 V1 and a Phantom 4 Working with partners who had an existing drone capability, as well as drone experts, the Brigade began work to implement the use of drones and acquired a Matrice 210 V1 and a Phantom 4 as a trainer and reserve drone. In the summer of 2018, an Emergency Services bespoke course was run by Essex Police to train the Brigade’s team of drone pilots, who were all PfCO qualified within one week. From start to finish, it took just nine months to get London Fire Brigade’s drone team operational. Working of the drones On its first day of being available for incidents, the team received an order to attend a 15-pump fire at a leisure center, which was under renovation. They were asked to confirm if there were cylinders on the roof of the building and immediately put the drone to use. The team flew and relayed the camera footage onto a large screen that was fitted into a van provided for the trial. The drone footage was able to identify, to the Incident Commander’s satisfaction, that the cylinders were actually rolls of asphalt due to be laid on the roof as part of the renovation. If the drone concept could have proven its use in one job, this was it. The information from the drone allowed the Incident Commander to decide not to make it ‘cylinders confirmed’ and saved a lot of unnecessary extra appliance movements. Applications of drone Since that first callout, the team has been to around 300 incidents of six pumps or more, including persons in the water, fires, and various missing people’s incidents both in London and into other counties, assisting police forces. From start to finish, it took just nine months to get London Fire Brigade’s drone team operational Drone inventory The Brigade’s drone capability inventory includes a Matrice 300 with an H20T dual thermal and optical camera; a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual with multi attachments; a Mavic Air 2 and a Yuneec 520. The Brigade also has a Teradek live streaming device and multiple tablets for receiving the streamed footage. The Brigade operates with two Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs – plug-in hybrid SUVs – and has split the drone equipment into two, with one vehicle carrying the drone and batteries, and the other carrying all the support kit and ancillaries. Working in dark conditions The drones are permitted to fly up to 400 ft above ground level or higher in an emergency and can fly as fast as 50 mph. They also can act as a loudspeaker to give instructions or reassurance and shine a bright spotlight in dark or low light conditions. 24/7 service The Brigade has eight pilots trained and operates a 24/7 service The Brigade has eight pilots trained and operates a 24/7 service. The team is working closely with its blue light partners, including the: Metropolitan Police Service, several search and rescue teams, and a host of fire services surrounding the capital, as well as giving advice to other upcoming drone teams around the UK. Use of drone in future The Brigade’s drone capability has been molded to how it sees the future and what it holds in the way of drone use. For example, the Brigade has developed a capability to drop water rescue aides to people at water incidents, which helps to keep them afloat long enough to be rescued. The drone can also be used alongside the swift water rescue teams to provide situational awareness of hazards and the resulting risks during the rescue phase. Delivering fire escape tools The Brigade also invested in fire escape hoods in late 2018 and has already demonstrated how one might be delivered via a drone to a balcony above the height of an aerial appliance while using the Mavic Enterprise 2 to relay instructions via the loudspeakers. These possible new uses are pushing the boundaries of the Brigade’s original concept and demonstrate how London Fire Brigade works to stay ahead of the curve. 

Chicago Bans Dogs From Firehouses, Despite Long-Held Tradition
Chicago Bans Dogs From Firehouses, Despite Long-Held Tradition

There is a long tradition of canines in the fire service, from Dalmatians riding shotgun in the fire truck to mixed breeds rescued from fires that later become the fire company mascot. The tradition has taken a hit recently in Chicago, where dogs are no longer allowed at firehouses after one station dog killed a smaller breed canine near a firehouse in the Englewood neighborhood. The incident The firehouse dog in Chicago, named Bones, was a mixed breed stray rescued off the street that was living at Engine 116 at 60th Street and Ashland Avenue. A neighbor was walking her smaller breed dog past the firehouse and watched in horror as Bones attacked and killed her small dog. After the incident, Chicago’s Acting Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt issued a department memo: “Any and all prior permissions for dogs in the fire stations or on fire apparatuses are hereby revoked … effective immediately.” Chicago Firehouse dogs Most of Chicago’s firehouse dogs are strays that were picked up and brought to firefighters by the public. Fire crews and paramedics care for the dogs, train them, feed them and get them inoculated and spayed or neutered, then ask formal permission to keep the dogs on site. Historically, permission has been granted, in effect saving the dogs from being euthanized. Breed of choice The tradition of dogs and the fire service goes back centuries, to the 1700s, when carriage dogs first trotted alongside horse-drawn fire carriages. Dalmatians were the breed of choice, given their good temperament, calming effect on the horses Dalmatians were the breed of choice, given their good temperament, calming effect on the horses, and grace under pressure. The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) began utilizing Dalmatians as early as the 1870s. Dalmatians as firehouse ambassadors When motorized vehicles came on the scene, Dalmatians were already associated with firefighters, who continued to keep them on-site as firehouse residents and mascots. Increasingly, Dalmatians and other dogs became public ambassadors for firehouses and were involved in public education about fire safety and emergency preparedness for school and community groups. For example, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog, a Dalmatian from Clarksville, Ark., was a character in her own set of children’s books about fire safety and traveled around the country teaching children about fire tips. reduce stress, provide comfort Currently, firehouse dogs are other breeds, too, many rescued from house fires or other tragedies. Firehouses often adopt dogs, who become symbols of resiliency, bravery, fortitude – and provide comfort and companionship for firefighters who face high levels of stress on the job. After the 9/11 attacks, two firefighters from Rochester, N.Y., gifted the FDNY Ladder 20 company a Dalmatian puppy, appropriately named Twenty. The dog served as a source of comfort to the firefighters, who lost seven members of the company in 9/11. Dogs recognize signals Taken in as a stray in 1929, a dog named Nip served 10 years with New York’s Engine Company No. 203. During his service, the dog was injured by broken glass, falling debris, scalding burns, and bruises from falling off the fire engine. Nip could recognize all bells and signals. On fire scenes, Nip could alert firefighters if he knew something was wrong and sometimes run into burning buildings to look for victims. Unfortunately, Nip was killed by a hit-and-run driver in front of the firehouse in 1939 (and was stuffed by a taxidermist and displayed at the firehouse until 1974). Dogs promote fire safety Dogs promote fire safety outside the firehouse Dogs also promote fire safety outside the firehouse. For example, accelerant-sniffing dogs are trained to detect minute traces of accelerants that may be used to start a fire, according to the State Farm Arson Dog Program. The special bond between firefighters and dogs is the stuff of legend, despite the recent unfortunate events in Chicago – an ignoble scar on a long, colorful history of dogs in the fire service. Hopes remain that the decision can somehow be reversed, based on social media postings. “This is the first tragedy I have heard of in … 25 years,” said the administrator of the Firehouse Pups group.

What Impact Has COVID-19 Had On The Fire Industry?
What Impact Has COVID-19 Had On The Fire Industry?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had ramifications for almost every industry, some more than others. With the pandemic stretching well into a second year, the non-medical consequences continue, and many are wondering about which of the required changes might become permanent. As regards the fire sector, we asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What impact has COVID-19 had on the fire industry?