Vermont PSBC Team Meets With Fairfax FD and Beecher Falls FD to Discuss FirstNet
On July 5th and 6th, the Vermont PSBC team gave short presentations to the Fairfax and Beecher Falls fire departments about the FirstNet project. The Fairfax Fire Department discussed with the team how the network might be implemented, what their current communications setup is, and how they might use FirstNet in the future. Fairfax FD was concerned especially with what the cost of the network might be.
The Beecher Falls Fire Department told the Vermont PSBC team about the numerous communications and interoperability challenges in their area. Beecher Falls sits on the border between Canada and New Hampshire and the Beecher Falls FD responds to calls in both areas and also Vermont. Not only is there extremely limited cell phone coverage in their area, but in certain areas, the department's land mobile radios also have trouble getting a signal. When responding to calls in Canada, the fire department often has to take one of the four fluent French speakers in their department with them to translate, otherwise they have to translate through the PSAP. FirstNet has the potential to help solve many of these communications challenges, but the department is skeptical that the network will be built in a way that allows them to communicate more effectively due to the border and terrain challenges in their area. The Vermont PSBC team is communicating these concerns to FirstNet.
The Vermont PSBC team would like to thank Chief Snyder and Battalion Chief Raymond for allowing us to come discuss FirstNet with the Fairfax Fire Department. The Vermont PSBC would also like to thank Chief Young for allowing us to discuss FirstNet with the Beecher Falls Fire Department.