Monday, June 1, 2009

Got a call the other day…….

from a Fire Chief that wanted to know if we could schedule a trip over to his county to meet with he and the other Chiefs to discuss how to best plan for all the changes involved with converting to narrow band, what to do about planning for digital, how to get grant money and all the issues relating to changes in communications regulations and technology.

We get similar calls from Law Enforcement, Municipal Officials, Transportation Supervisors and others involved in both county and municipal governments with the same questions.  Suffice it to say that we agreed to meet with our caller. We will gladly schedule a meeting with other users anywhere in Alabama. 

We also recognize a need to serve those outside Alabama. So, we put together a package to help those wanting some straight answers on communications planning.  The result is a simple seven-step program to help you meet your objectives. 

1)   Let’s start with grants since this is a major source of funding.  We can sum up what you need to do in three statements.  (a) Learn to work with others for a common cause – first with those involved in your area of expertise (other fire departments for example) and those in other areas that work closely with you such as law enforcement, schools, and transportation. (b) Plan for a coordinated public safety network designed to meet the needs of all concerned, then start planning for the next grant application period well before the opening date and scrambling to get your application put together within the 30 day window of opportunity. (c) Employ the services of a professional, and successful grant writer along with an equipment supplier that can help you meet your objectives.  A grant program is open for law enforcement RIGHT NOW (through June 2009).  See for additional information. The Fire Grant Communications Program closed on May 20th.  Fire departments should be planning what they will do based on whether or not they receive an award for 2009. A few simple steps follow that apply to both Fire/Rescue and Law Enforcement communications users.  

2)   Address the need for narrow banding or replacement of your existing equipment. We have some comments on this subject at

3)   Fire Departments - Don’t buy any more pagers.  Review your alternatives after determining if your existing pagers can be narrow banded and at what price.  In the meantime, time a look at for some interesting alternatives.

4)   Don’t buy any more radios.  At least, don’t buy any more radios UNLESS they are P25 compatible.  Check out for some good choices.

5)   Don’t buy any more base stations or repeaters.  If you really need to buy a base station or repeater, check out

6)   Help us get your community involved in the VISION Program.  For additional information see  For some of the unique products available for VISION participants, please see

7)   Get involved with someone that understands your needs and helps you meet your objectives.  That someone, we think, should be Falcon Direct.  You can learn a lot about us on our Blog page at or call us for more information at 205.854.2611 or email us at You’ll be glad you did!