As buildings get taller Kamloops firefighters are losing their radio signals | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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As buildings get taller Kamloops firefighters are losing their radio signals


Firefighters are having a hard time hearing their radios as buildings in Kamloops get taller and energy efficiency improves.

Depending on the building, firefighters are finding their radio signals to be fuzzy and disrupted, sometimes "rendered completely ineffective," according to a report going to a City of Kamloops committee on Thursday, Aug. 11.

First responders experienced this first-hand at the new Royal Inland Hospital tower when a firefighter had to stand outside to reach a radio repeater, acting as a middleman between responding firefighters inside the building and incident commanders further from the scene, according to the report.

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The fire department blames "modern construction techniques" that increase energy efficiency for the degrades radio signals, which includes windows, doors and other construction materials.

It suggests a bylaw change that would require both new developments and current buildings to install a radio amplifier, which can vary in cost from $4,000 to $25,000.

Deputy chief Ryan Cail, who wrote the report, declined to answer questions about the recommendations and communication challenges until after the committee meeting.

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He did say, however, that ensuring communication is operating properly is essential for the safety of first responders in an emergency situation.

Bylaws in some Lower Mainland cities like Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey are already in place to require radio repeaters in certain buildings.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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