FIRST ARRIVING NETWORK
First Arriving Network
Powered by the First Arriving Network, Reaching 1M+ First Responders Worldwide

DC Fire & EMS Department looking at encryption of radio channels. Navy Yard shooting cited as example.



DC encryption fire department

Do you want to sell a rig? Click HERE to find out how with SellFireTrucks.com.

The man in charge of public safety for the Nation's Capital thinks the time has come to keep the public from listening to the radio channels of the DC Fire & EMS Department. The first with this story is Will Sommer who writes the Loose Lips column for the Washington City Paper. Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Paul Quander cited the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard in September as one reason for this.

This became an issue two-years-ago after the DC Police Department encrypted its radio channels and the fire department shut down its Twitter feed. While that Twitter feed is back up and police department is very active on Twitter, neither agency kept the public or press informed through Twitter during the early stages of the Navy Yard incident. Here's more from Sommer:

Quander says the department is considering a solution that would leave some traffic open while encrypting calls. He cited dispatch calls to emergency as an example of traffic that could stay unencrypted.

While MPD encrypted its radios in 2011, the push to encrypt fire department radios came only after September's Navy Yard massacre, according to Quander. "It puts law enforcement, first responders, and the public in a very precarious position," he says.

Incidentally, if there's any publicly available evidence that Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis listened to emergency broadcasts during his rampage, LL hasn't been able to find it. Quander spokesman Keith St. Clair tells LL that he's not aware of any either, but says that emergency radio streaming on the Internet is "a potentially huge problem."

Read entire article

Click here to follow STATter911.com on Facebook (hit “like”)

SHARE THIS

Comments - Add Yours

  • Comm guy

    So much for interoperabily.  Encryption was not the problem, but the need for tactical comms resources on scene was. "BDA what????"

    wait til they see the price tag lol

  • ThatGuy

    Everything the DC Fire Department does is encrypted. It's shadowed by illigal practices and has to be the most corrupt fire department in the nation. The only saving grace are the 1,500 Firefighters who show up to work everyday and suffer through the upper management's circus. 

  • Volunteer for life

    Go get em chief.Like you don't have more important issues. Love DC stories. Keep em coming Dave. Lets go union bash the chief for being out of touch. Bring back Rubin????

  • Tree

    Maybe they're secretly looking for a new radio system.  They're trunked already, but it may be an analog system.  Only the dispatch repeat is conventional, and is probably what most people listen to, unless they've gone to the expense of buying a trunked scanner,etc.

    Encryption is easy, and transparent, with digital.  Not so much for analog.

    As Comm Guy says – wait'll they see the price tag.

  • SFC

    Let's keep it simple, Quandar doesn't want the media to know what going on in regard to available E.M.S. units & response times etc.  

  • A concerned taxpayer

    a solution in search of a problem.

     

  • Unbelieveable

    I can agree with encrtpting certain operational talkgroups, ( like narcotics) but encrypting dispatch is a way of covering up things, and based upon what is happening, this is to keep the public from knowing what is realling going on.  What are they hiding?

  • RETIRED ASST. CHIEF

    SPEND THE MONEY ON SOMETHING TO HELP THE FIRE DEPARTMENT TOW TRUCK IN EVERY STATION SO THE PUMPS AND LADDER TRUCKS CAN MAKE IT TO THE FIRE. SPEND THE MONEY AND GET A FIRE CHIEF NOT A FIRE MARSHALL FROM A CHILD CARE CENTER. THE FIRST THING IS TO REPLACE ALL THE THE SHOP PEOPLE THEY CANNOT REPAIR A GO-CART. ALL THE PROBLEMS THAT DEPARTMENT HAS ENCRYPING RADIO TRAFFIC SHOULD NOT EVEN ON THE LIST. BRING BACK RUBIN !!!! I KNOW SOME OF THE FIREFIGHTERS FROM THE D. C.  FIFE AND DRUM BAND MY FIRE COMPANY HAD MARCH WITH US IN A PARADE ABOUT 4 YEARS AGO. AND I THINK SOME ONE SHOULD FIX THE DEPARTMENT.

     

  • Just sayin

    All of the Special Ops and command staff radios have encrypted channels … all radios have non repeater channels … use the encrypted channels for sensitive radio transmissions and the Chief or Aide can relay info as needed to non encrypted radios on the non repeated, talk around channel … problem is that the Deputy Mayor and Fire Administrator don't know enough about the DCFD to innovate with existing resources and the Command Staff is not allowed to offer solutions … just sayin

  • markww

    just a excuse The real threat is the companies not doing back ground checks, LAZY PEOPLE. Why encrypt a way to hide emergency from scanner buffs