Effective management of radio communication

Control Measure Knowledge

Radio communication between operational and fire control personnel is a crucial tool, particularly for exchanging of critical information that requires an instant, verbal acknowledgement.

When communicating by radio, fire and rescue services should use a structured message format, such as the M/ETHANE structure, and adhere to the principles of accuracy, brevity and clarity.

Fire control personnel should effectively manage any communication that includes fire control on talkgroups, giving clearance to pass messages to one operational resource at a time.

Talkgroup per incident is a method used by many fire and rescue services to effectively manage critical radio communication by assigning each incident to an available talkgroup. It is particularly effective in managing the increase in voice communication that a period of multiple incidents brings and ensures that operational personnel can send urgent messages to fire control personnel if necessary.

Talkgroup per incident is also effective at:

  • Reducing the likelihood of operational personnel hearing and reacting to messages meant for personnel at other incidents
  • Minimising congestion of the communication network as communication is targeted to the intended recipients only

Dynamic group number assignment (DGNA) allows talkgroup management through the mobilising system. DGNA allows the automatic allocation of resources to the next available talkgroup, as a new incident is created and switches the devices of all assigned operational resources to that talkgroup.

DGNA is an efficient method to manage critical voice communication because it avoids the requirement for fire control personnel to manually manage the process and for operational personnel to change talkgroups before they can communicate with fire control personnel.

Request to speak is an effective method alongside DGNA that helps fire control personnel to effectively manage critical voice communication across multiple talkgroups simultaneously. Operational personnel press a button on their radio to request to speak, relative to the urgency of their message, allowing fire control personnel to identify and respond to the most urgent requests first.

Patching of talkgroups allows fire control personnel to communicate on more than one talkgroup at once. This may be particularly useful when needing to communicate with operational personnel at separate but linked incidents, such as wildfires. Patching allows fire control personnel to combine two or more talkgroups and broadcast information to operational personnel at all relevant incidents simultaneously. Some mobilising systems support talkgroup patching, however the same outcome may be achieved by:

  • Establishing a conference group with the relevant talkgroups
  • Using DGNA to switch operational resources from different incidents to the same talkgroup
  • Requesting operational personnel at relevant incidents manually switch to the same talkgroup

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions