"The adoption of one of these solutions into the organization improves productivity and even saves lives in critical situations, such as the earthquake that happened on September 19th in Mexico City." — Frida Fernández, Cancun International Rescue Brigade (BRIC)
Beyond the commercial terms in which radio communication is obviously useful, a company leader should always consider his communication solution could never fail in emergency situations. For this reason, Security and IT Infrastructure, interviewed Enrique Ochoa Delgado, an expert in emergency management at the Cancun International Rescue Brigade (BRIC), which provided support in the Mexican capital during earthquake in September.
It is important to point out the different types of emergencies that BRIC attends range include search and rescue of people in collapsed structures, search and rescue of people in the jungle (by the area where the brigade base is), and other activities from the emergency administration.
How is the response to emergencies initiated?
There are several activation mechanisms depending on the emergency. Usually call the authorities first to verify that the news is true or not. Then we set up a leadership post where various communication systems are run. They are mostly radio communication systems.
What kind of radios did the rescue brigade use to respond to an emergency?
BRIC uses a radio communication system from Hytera which includes DMR digital radios and a portable repeater which can be carried on a backpack. Their high operating quality and durability ensure a secure communication throughout the emergency because all devices are IP67-protected, which makes them reliable no matter what rescue process is taken.
The radios can be used in two modes: simplex mode, you communicate from one radio to another at a maximum distance of 3 or 5 km or in duplex mode. You can extend the coverage of work with the repeater up to 50 km around depending on the types of territory to be covered, for example, mountains, jungles, plain or cities.
What are the advantages of using this type of equipment in critical situations?
You reduce the time in the exchange of information; it is instant push-to-talk and you can talk to your team whenever you want it. The portable and compact-sized repeater offers a built-in mini-duplexer. It is easy to carry around and allows users to use various power sources to ensure that communications will run continuously during emergencies. On the other hand, it supports the IP Connect, which shortens both time and distance. This was most handy during the Sept. 19th earthquake because while the brigade was working in Mexico City, they could receive status reports from the Operations Center located in Cancún.
What is the correct way to use two-way radios for organizations like BRIC?
It should be well planned. We divide all active elements that will attend an emergency in groups, name them after the leader, who is responsible for exchanging information with the other leaders, and the leaders have different levels of access to the channels.
“Two-way radios are more in force than ever”
We also interviewed Jonathan Morera, CEO of Radiosys, a local distributor of two-way radios, who said: "Many people think that cell phone is an alternative to the two-way radio, which is wrong; again the awareness is being raised and more people are realizing the importance of this instant communication system since the disaster on September 19th. Two-way radios are more in force than ever.” As for the sectors where this solution may be useful, Jonathan added, "It is more visible in those areas where security is the real business.”
Radio communication is and will remain for a long time the best way to keep a whole team working in contact, quickly, efficiently and at lower cost. No matter the sector or situation in which this communication system is used, the truth is that no matter where you are or your work team is, they will always hear your voice immediately just by pressing a button.