Extreme cold weather, which compromises the safety of citizens in Yellowknife, Canada, was one of the drivers behind the City partnering with Tait Communications on a new radio network for its emergency responders.
Tait has been selected to implement the mission critical voice communications network system for emergency responders that will also provide data capabilities to other city departments in the future.
The Director of Public Safety for the City of Yellowknife, Dennis Marchiori, says the City initiated a study on its radio network to understand what would be needed to support the increasing workload of emergency personnel and at the same time investigate how a radio network could support other departments, including public works and the City’s Transit system.
“Once Planetworks Consulting, the firm contracted to conduct the study, completed their initial work, we determined the network needed an overhaul. At the same time, we realized the benefits we would receive in having a dependable radio system that would properly support our crews on the street with voice and data capabilities.”
Marchiori felt the highest priority for the City was to ensure its first responders had a dependable radio system that would aid in their response to any type of emergency, whether it be an ambulance call, fire scene or a large scale emergency that could affect a large number of its citizens.
“The biggest challenge we have in Yellowknife is operating efficiently in cold winter temperatures. If we have a fire scene at -40 degrees, our Fire Division requires a radio system that will still work under those extreme temperatures. Furthermore, if there is a power outage at that temperature range, we require a radio system to be able to operate without failure to ensure we can conduct any emergency mitigation activities.”
The $2.1 million project will see the replacement and consolidation of three existing systems being used by individual departments into one new system used by all. The new four-site, seven-channel network will be designed to provide seamless city-wide communications coverage for fire, municipal enforcement and public works with the capability to support other departments in the future.
“For our fire crews, we want them to have a level of assurance that when they use the radio a call is being transmitted. For public works the benefit we may be able to move to is mobile data which will enable them to monitor different sites through a laptop in their car and not have to pay ongoing cellular airtime costs.
“The other benefit is we have public works vehicles that work alone and this network will aid to provide them a safer working environment. If these workers are on a night shift and we have not heard from them in a while, we could track their status.
“The City insisted on a local technical partnership component to ensure timely support of the system and to leverage this opportunity for local business to be trained and be involved in a complex communications project. This in turn will further increase local business expertise in this market.”
The current radio network processes more than 4,000 calls annually – five times more than it was engineered to handle when first installed.
For more information, visit www.taitradio.com.