Wildland Fire Safety & Health Reporting Network

SAFENET Event Information
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Event Start Date:
06/04/2017 1220
Event Stop Date:
06/04/2017 1615 
Incident Name:
Radio defaults with power outages
Fire Number:
Local Unit:
Incident Type:
Prescribed/Fuels Treatment
Incident Activity:
Line, Support, Transport to/from
Stage of Incident:
Mop Up
Position Title:
Lead Ia Dispatcher 
Radio Communications 
Management Level:
Resources Involved:
Resources from NOD, WIF and SUF. About 50 personel total, 30 poeple on RX units and about 20 field going personel were out. 
Contributing Factors
Contributing Factors:
Communications, Equipment, Human Factors
Human Factors:
Risk Assessment, Situational Awareness  
Other Factors:
Describe in detail what happened including the concern or potential issue, the environment (weather, terrain, fire behavior, etc), and the resulting health issue.
EICC experienced a power outage. It seemed the whole building did experience a power outage but I could not leave dispatch to verify at the time. All monitors, including our radios, went black. About 30 seconds went by and all power came back on and everything in EICC seemed to restore itself. The Radios however needed to be logged back in and the Telex C-soft program opened again. Once all 8 radios were back up everything seemed to be up and working. I had notified the Center Manager of the power outage. When doing a radio check I had no contact but could hear radio transmissions from both our afterhours dispatch and with the field, and with that though everything was ok. AT 1330 Gjonnes called in to dispatch and could not hear EICC transmission, so Metcom picked up the radio call. Metcom had noticed a key up, but no sound coming through. At that point a radio check with Metcom confirmed EICC had an issue with their radio system. The center manager as well as multiple radio techs were contacted. The BLM radio tech helped with possible trouble shooting, and radio checks. The FS radio tech came into the office and we commenced more radio checks with failure to contact anyone in the field and to Metcom. The issue was that the once the system had a hard shut down it went back to its default program. It did not connect with our mic. Two different changes needed to happen, one a dispatcher could change and the other a radio tech needed to go into the programing with their computer and change a setting in order for it to recognize the Telex mic.
There were fire personnel on RX units, if Metcom was not able to cover for EICC this issue could have been detrimental to the safety of field going personnel. Notifications were made to fire resources via phone and were instructed to call EICC if able for check ins, otherwise EICC would monitor radios and Metcom would pick up any radio calls.
Having no radio communication with fire personnel when they are out on units is not acceptable.
Immediate Action Taken
Reporting Individual : please describe actions you took to correct or mitigate the unsafe/unhealthful event.
When our radios were not transmitting, Metcom took over all radio calls. Notifications were made to supervisors/ FMOs and resources to call dispatch if needed, otherwise Metcom would take radio calls.
All available radio technicians in the area were contacted, and messages were left for those who did not answer. I had gotten a hold of one of the BLM radio techs, and he gave me a few options for troubleshooting with radio checks. Nothing seemed to work.
Our FS tech called and said he was en route. He worked with another FS tech over the phone and they figured out it was a default setting.

Other issues we found were:
Dispatch should not have even noticed the power outage due to back up generator. EICC desk pods are connected to back up generator.

All computer, and radios should be hooked up to a uninterruptible power supply, or UPS. Only four of our computers were hooked up to outdated UPSs.
Our radios were not hooked up to any UPSs.

The Center Manager of EICC and myself talked to our Fire Leadership and the Facilities Manager to first confirm we are still hooked up to the back up generator, and then if we could purchase new UPS's for each IA desk. Our answer, yes to all. It was confirmed, EICC was hooked up to the back up generator, but it takes 15-30 seconds to confirm a power outage has happened before it kicks on. We had permission and a job code to purchase new UPSs, and chatted with someone from IT to get the right UPS to support what we needed. UPSs have been ordered.
We have covered our power outage problem, but we have not fixed the program default issue. That issue will remain with the radio techs to troubleshoot.

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