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Wireless Communication

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The radio is a wireless form of communication which is transmitted through sounds or signals by electromagnetic waves directly through space to a receiving set. Some types of radio communications are HAM radios, CB (Citizen Band) radios, Cell Phones, Radio Scanners and Walkie-talkies. Radio communications are widely used in the United States and majority of it is used by law enforcement and emergency services. Police/Sheriff, Fire-Rescue, Highway Patrol, Ambulance and EMS are some of the agencies that use radio communications.

There are many factors that contribute to radio failure. These factors could delay law enforcement and emergency services getting to a distress call immediately. Some of these factors are; lack of maintenance on a radio communication system, causing it to crash. This happened at the Palmdale Air Traffic Control Center, when a technician failed to perform required maintenance. This caused the communication system even the back up system to shut down for more then three hours. Radio Failure also occurred during the September 11 attacks, where the radio system used by city firefighters failed. These radios should have been replaced two years earlier, but the new radios never worked properly. Radio problems also occurred during the Cedar Fires in Southern California. When firefighters went face to face with the most destructive wildfire in

California history, their most reliable method for communicating with each other may have been shouting. Mismatched radio systems left U.S. Forest Service crews unable to talk to their counterparts in other fire agencies. Some firefighters resorted to palm-size Family Radio Service devices that sell for as little as $25 apiece after the failure of their regular radios, which cost thousands of dollars each. At times, supervisors had to leave their crews in trucks parked in the field and drive back to their base camp to get instructions because they couldn't reach anyone by radio. The radio failure and communications failure in these cases caused a lot of lives to be lost and damages and delays.

HAM radios are a great way of communication when normal communication is down, this way of communicating could have been used in during the Cedar Fires. The National Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) is an organization that uses the HAM Radios. They provide local and long distance communications



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