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Municipal Affairs
July 25, 2008

Fire and Emergency Services � Newfoundland and Labrador Releases Northern Avalon Peninsula Radio Assessment Report

Fire and Emergency Services � Newfoundland and Labrador (FES-NL), today released an assessment of the interoperability of radio communications between emergency first responders on the Northern Avalon Peninsula. Radio interoperability is the ability for one emergency responder to utilize two-way radio communication to make contact with another agency. Radio interoperability problems traditionally arise when radios operate on different frequency bands.

FES-NL was awarded funding from the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group to carry out an assessment of radio capacity and capability of emergency first responders on the Northern Avalon Peninsula. The report assessed whether or not, and to what degree, first responders communicate with each other using what are commonly known as two-way radio systems. The report assessed the interoperability capability of 35 fire departments and 14 other agencies.

"This report provides valuable insight into two-way radio interoperability throughout the Northern Avalon," said the Honourable Dave Denine, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister Responsible for Fire and Emergency Services � Newfoundland and Labrador. "FES-NL is currently reviewing the report in greater detail and will be looking at the recommendations to determine how best to proceed. In the meantime, FES-NL will take the lead in convening a meeting of selected agencies from the province, the Federal Government, and the private sector to determine what, if any, of the recommendations are achievable in the near future."

The report outlined several recommendations. They are:

  • Create a provincial interoperability committee;
  • Develop and implement a strategic plan for the interoperability initiative;
  • Identify, assign and fund off-line resources to move this process forward;
  • Research other jurisdictions for lessons learned and best practices;
  • Ensure that all radio systems are working smoothly;
  • Prioritize the focus;
  • Address regional funding disparities;
  • Set realistic goals that use commonly deployed hardware � seek out the small changes with the biggest benefit first; and,
  • Investigate the provision of expanded VHF radio coverage to outlying areas.
  • "The report confirmed what we already knew � that first responders are very passionate about and dedicated to their role," said Minster Denine. "They want to perform to the very best of their ability. They are aware that they face interoperability challenges and have already developed a selection of best practices to address them."

    "The health and safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians is a top priority," said the minister. "The systems currently in place, while on the low end of the scale for technology, do work. We will now evaluate the report in greater detail with all stakeholders at the table and make recommendations as to how we can strengthen communication between emergency first responders throughout the province."

    Copies of the report are available at:

    Radio Assessment Report - Volume I �

    Radio Assessment Report - Volume II -

    Radio Assessment Report - Volume III -

    - 30 -

    Media contact:
    Bradley Power
    Public Relations Specialist
    Fire and Emergency Services � Newfoundland and Labrador
    (709) 729-0857, 697-5216

    2008 07 25                                                  10:00 a.m.

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