Local News

Communication issues could put firefighters at risk

Communication Important For Safety

BLACK FOREST, Colo. - Colorado firefighters could have trouble communicating with each other during big wildfires and that could be putting them in danger, according to Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey.

Harvey spoke about the communication issues during the Black Forest Fire at a legislative committee meeting Monday. He said multiple agencies helped fight the Black Forest Fire, and they used different radio frequencies to communicate.

Most El Paso County fire departments use a DTRS 800 radio. Harvey said it's a national standard most departments now use. Federal agencies use a VHF radio. So during the Black Forest Fire, firefighters carried both types of radios. Harvey said at one point he had three different radios and a cellphone to communicate.

Communication is vital to keep firefighters safe. Harvey said they need to be able to tell each other what fire zones are okay to go into and which ones are too risky.

"When you cannot communicate with your joining forces, or your supervisor, then it creates very dangerous situations and this was a very dangerous fire," he said.

Harvey said state lawmakers are looking into how to make radio communication more compatible.

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