CFA celebrates major milestone in Tait P25 digital upgrade

One of the world’s largest emergency-services organizations—the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in Victoria—is marking a major milestone in the upgrade of its critical state-wide radio system with Tait Communications.

More than 9000 Tait P25 digital portable and mobile radios have been rolled out to 1220 CFA brigades across the State of Victoria as part of a complex Radio Replacement Project (RRP) managed by CFA, Tait Communications and local partner AA Radio Services.

The CFA is a community-based fire and emergency-services organization made up of 56,000 members, helping protect 3.3 million Victorians and more than one million homes and properties across the state.

Tait, a global leader in critical communications solutions for public-safety and utilities organizations, was selected to provide P25 digital-capable radios as part of a US$29 million contract awarded in 2010.

“The Radio Replacement Project is all about putting better communications technology into the hands of firefighters,” explains CFA Project Director Doug Booth.

“From today, Tait’s P25 digital-capable radios will mean our fire brigades are connected like never before, taking CFA’s field communications to a new and sophisticated level of operations.

“Furthermore, the radios will also allow CFA to communicate with other state emergency-response agencies as new digital networks become available, improving coordination of resources during large-scale incidents and disasters,” adds Booth.

As part of the wider project, Tait is also upgrading CFA’s incident-management network with its advanced TB9100 base stations, making the entire state-wide network digital-ready. The solution also provides CFA with support services from Tait’s Melbourne-based facility, including specialized equipment maintenance to protect CFA’s investment in digital technology.

Brett Smythe, General Manager, Tait Asia Pacific, says: “The installation of the new Tait P25 terminals, on time and on budget, marks a significant milestone in our partnership with CFA and paves the way for planned future enhancements of CFA’s communications, like GPS location and crystal-clear digital audio.

“Worth celebrating alone is the fact that, for the first time, a number of rural fire brigades in Victoria now have access to handheld portable radios for their critical communications, in addition to their vehicle-mounted mobile radios. This means that CFA volunteer firefighters are now better equipped to protect the communities they serve, which is a significant outcome.”

The Tait solution features genuine P25 open standards, meaning CFA has the flexibility to incorporate other vendors' radio equipment into the overall Tait solution. This multi-vendor interoperability means public-safety organizations like CFA can get the maximum value from their investment, because Tait open standards allow them to customize their systems perfectly, now and in the future, to best meet their needs.

Frank Owen, Managing Director, Tait Communications, says: “We continue to work hand-in-hand with CFA staff and volunteers to ensure that every aspect of the upgrade meets the needs of the organization as a whole and, critically, the men and women who operate in some of the most hazardous environments in the world every day.

“We’re focused entirely on delivering the outcomes that matter to CFA, equipping their firefighters to better protect the communities they serve and enabling them to carry out their work in greater safety and efficiency,” adds Owen.

Tait delivered further enhancements to the TP9100 portable radios following extensive feedback, consultation and testing with CFA brigades, increasing audio loudness and providing greater water protection for CFA’s demanding operational environments.

The Tait P25 terminals filter out background noise from helicopters, trucks, sirens, hoses and machinery, supporting multiple modes of operation including analog, P25 conventional and P25 trunked.

The Tait TB9100 base stations also support both analog and digital operation, allowing critical communications interoperability with public-safety agencies that are yet to migrate to digital.

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