Tait gets on with helping customers

Tait Radio Communications has been doing what it does best this week; getting on with helping customers and looking out for each other after last month's Earthquake/Aftershock.

Frank Owen, Managing Director commented, "Our customers are public safety agencies, utilities and urban transport providers who plan for and get through incidents such as this. Critical communications to manage routine and emergency response is what they turn to Tait for. Our people demonstrate the same kind of resilience as our solutions and as our customers and I am enormously proud of them."

The Tait business was not impacted so we could respond to customers' needs. What makes the real difference is the actions of individuals.The extra mile and beyond the cordon

Tait facilities are well away from the affected areas. Process Improvement Engineer, Aaron Robinson, got the call to help and ferried batteries, multi-way chargers and other equipment through the police cordon down to the Civil Defence HQ in the central city.

"We were quickly able to secure and set up the kit," recounts Aaron who had to travel into the quake-affected area to hand-deliver the equipment.

Aaron continued, "It took quite a time to get into town and the officer patrolling the cordon gave me a funny look what with my rugby and cricket gear in the back of my little Citroen Saxo. But when he realized I was from Tait, with all the radio gear to help, I had no problems going on into the Civil Defence Headquarters."

Aaron Robinson seen here with the P25 portables charger like the ones he volunteered to take past the cordon into the impacted area within 24 hours.

Extra radios built to order within 36 hours

Production Engineering Manager Dean Mischewski adds, "The SMT (Surface Mount Technology) lines are high-precision equipment capable of placing a component the size of a full stop with an accuracy of 50 thousandths of a millimeter."

"Our SMT machines were working within 24 hours. We were able to re-direct production to the needs of the customers who were co-ordinating the rescue efforts.

The team did a fantastic job assembling radios which the NZ Police needed to give to visiting police and rescue teams from overseas. It was a huge team effort late into Friday to pack all the belt clips, holsters and Intrinsically Safe radios to ship way across town."

Dean Mischewski pictured on the left with the SMT equipment which can place 18,000 components an hour.

Two of Tait's largest customers pull together

An order about to ship to Sao Paulo Police in Brazil included some equipment which would have been useful for the rescue teams. The Chief of Police for that agency had visited Christchurch before and other officials had met with the New Zealand Police before going on to become one of Tait's largest customers.

When consulted over the 'redirection' of the radios which had been destined for Brazil, the ranking official at the Sao Paulo Police told Vice President Sales Latin America, Hamish Wiig, that this was the right thing to do and added it would be an honour to help in any ways they could.

Edith Vegara, Production Assembler and the team produced the fast-turnaround special batch of back-up Intrinsically Safe radios destined for rescue personnel.

Aussies and Kiwis working together - including their radios

As volunteer police and rescue personnel flooded in to help, one question was 'would police officers from places like New South Wales, who brought their own radios be able to communicate with NZ Police and other agencies?' The answer was 'Yes!'

Operations Manager Christine Lewis adds, "The NZ Police routinely use a TaitNet Trunked Digital P25 network in Christchurch. They have Tait mobiles in their vehicle fleet and Tait portables on officers' belts. Immediately after the quake, they were using their Tait Key Fill Devices to program Tait and the Motorola portables of some visiting police. Because the New South Wales police from Australia use the same digital technology, they were able to communicate with NZ Police using their P25 Tait portables with the Motorola equipment they brought from Sydney. This was interoperability really put to the test and ultimately lead to a more speedy response."

Interoperability with American, Australian and other countries' rescue teams was paramount.

Photo credit of the US Embassy.

Getting with the Program

Even our Systems Manager, Mike Head, volunteered to help by programming loaned radios for welfare centres and configuring their communications equipment as the centres were being set up over town straight after the quake.

Mike explains, "Our partner Logic Energy supplied them with the loaned Tait hardware, but there were some antenna placement issues which needed a bit of attention. Anyone who knew radio comms would have been able to help out. We also supplied some kit and expertise for the engineers who were busy conducting their evaluations of the buildings."

Mike Head programmed radios as the Welfare Centres were set up.

 Search and Rescue find right solution to help

Land Search and Rescue Team is a proud customer of Tait. "The Rescue teams use TP8100 portable radios with transportable chargers in a pelican case so they are ready to roll at a moment's notice and can be sure their radios will be powered up," says Business Development Manager John Billows.

John reports LandSar were happy with how their custom-designed Tait solution worked for them as they raced with other rescue teams to pull survivors from the rubble.

"The transportable solution allows LandSar to continue charging batches of radios throughout the event. They have these units set up in vehicles at various locations inside the cordon, continuously charging batteries for their operation."

"We've also been supplying some TB8100 transportable repeaters to other agencies to boost their coverage while there are several HAZMAT mobile command centres in the City. These are using Tait mobiles in the vehicles to co-ordinate Fire crews."

This HAZMAT Mobile Emergency Co-ordination Centre parked outside the Civil Defence HQ uses six TM8250 mobile radios to co-ordinate fire services.

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