Throughout the year, Monona Fire Department responds to approximately 1300 EMS and 500 fire calls and it’s vital that my team can efficiently communicate on the fireground no matter what situation we face. Due to the unique topography of the City of Monona, WI, we needed a radio communication solution that could provide the coverage and reliability that my first responders need to operate on 4 miles of lakeshore and a major state highway – that’s why we chose KENWOOD Viking®.
Interoperability for Mutual Aid
Monona Fire Department interops with mutual aid partners from neighboring cities and counties almost daily to respond to fire and EMS calls. Our team relies on the DANECOM Radio System to coordinate calls with other agencies, but we also have our own fire repeater system that helps us better manage some of the more unique requirements of our community’s terrain. Because of the coordinated mutual aid response, our first responders must have the means to operate on whatever fireground system our aid partners rely on. My team needed a public safety grade radio that was able to operate on a trunked and conventional radio system at one – and do it quickly. One of the advantages of the VP6000 is that our team has both systems identified in one zone, so we don’t have to switch back and forth between trunked and conventional.
Exceptional Noise Cancellation
Firefighters are typically used to holding their mics close to their mouths to try and block out the noise of the fireground. KENWOOD Viking portable and mobile radios are equipped with TrueVoice™ software-based noise cancellation that makes the audio quality far superior to any of its competitors especially on the digital side. With TrueVoice, you can speak in a normal voice and let the software do its job.
I can tell who is speaking on the other end of the radio and this has not been the case with other manufacturers. As a commander, the enhanced voice clarity provides me with security and comfort knowing that if one of my responders is in a situation and they call a mayday, I will be able to identify the person on the other end of the radio. For my team, it is important that they know that if they hit the PTT to call for help, someone is going to hear them and help will be on the way.
Maximizing Value While Maintaining Safety
Whether our team is on a major state highway or responding to a structure fire, we never know what we’re going to find on the other side of the door. Firefighters need to have reliable communication equipment to call for assistance and get the additional resources there if they need them. As a smaller community, we don’t have a large budget and I know many other departments are in the same boat. Even with the available grant funding opportunities, maximizing the value of your radio purchase is important.
I would never put my firefighters’ safety in jeopardy. The radio equipment doesn't meet our needs if it doesn’t keep my team safe. Price is a major factor, but it is not a tradeoff if you don’t feel comfortable and confident that the technology is going to work every single time you need it. With the Viking VP6000 radios, we were able to maximize value without compromising safety.
Viking Radios Put to the Test
In the past year, the KENWOOD Viking VP6000 radios have been put to the test and have proven the true durability of the radio on two separate occasions.
Most recently, our department responded to a structure fire at an Italian restaurant in -26 degree weather with wind chills pushing -45 degrees. For approximately four hours, the radio was going back and forth between the temperature extremes of the structure fire and icy weather outside. Our responders did not experience any condensation on the screen, functionality issues, or battery issues. Additionally, we had a speaker mic that lost a battle with a tub of marinara sauce and I’m proud to report that it was wiped off and still works perfectly.
Last Summer, my team responded to a rescue on Lake Monona where a resident went into cardiac arrest out on the lake. As the first responders were bringing the resident ashore, one of the paramedics accidentally dropped the radio in about 3 feet of water. We went back to retrieve the radio after caring for the patient and transporting him to the hospital about 30-45 minutes later. To my surprise, when the VP6000 was pulled from the lake it was still working and has continued to work to this day without any issues. In almost 45 years of experience in this industry, when a radio gets drowned it normally is retired and the Viking radio hasn’t missed a beat.
Try It Before You Buy It
Just like buying a car, until you test drive it you don’t really know if it’s a good fit for your needs. For any agency looking to purchase new radio equipment, I recommend trying it before you buy it. JVCKENWOOD offers free Viking P25 demo radios, so users can put the radios to use for a few weeks to determine how they perform with the unique requirements of each department. Reviewing spec sheets is important, but it’s very difficult to determine the actual quality and performance of a radio until you try it out.
A Communications Partner You Can Rely On
When determining a P25 public safety communications partner, I selected JVCKENWOOD for its quality and reputation. KENWOOD has been around for a long time providing durable and reliable communication equipment that stand the test of time. The JVCKENWOOD team has a network of local dealers that are available to provide support, training, and to help my department achieve its goals. I didn’t want to choose a manufacturer who might be here today and gone tomorrow and I am confident that I’ve made a lasting relationship with JVCKENWOOD.
I would recommend the Viking VP6000 to any fire department looking to improve their fireground communications. Schedule your free demo today to put the KENWOOD Viking VP6000 portable radio to the test.
About the Author
Assistant Chief, Dan Eklof has worked in public safety for over 45 years. He started his career in law enforcement and now serves as the Assistant Chief of Monona Fire Department in Monona, WI.