Thursday, October 30, 2014

2014 Assistance to Firefighters Grant program application period opens on Monday, November 3rd and closes on Friday, December 5th, 2014.

Want some great ideas on using Fire Grant funding to do some great things for your community?

Instead of focusing on equipment, how about considering PROJECTS to really serve your community while addressing some of your really key needs?  For instance, we can help you:

1) Establish interoperability with ANY radio system, 
    and in particular, meeting State Guidelines.

2) Provide a cure for problems caused by narrow banding

3) Provide improved safety for firefighters and citizens

4) Get you in compliance with ISO, NFPA, and OSHA

5) Help you provide faster response times

6) Reduce property loss

7) Provide better incident command capabilities

8) Develop community partnerships for greater efficiency

9) Introduce you to more cost efficient technology

10) Share residual benefits to serve other community needs

To help you with developing your grant application, we have prepared a free AFG Planning Guide.  For your copy, just click
 here! If you have any questions, or if you need assistance just give us a call at 205.854.2611 or drop us an email to

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Looking for a solution to loss of range caused by narrow banding?

A special message for Fire Departments!

Everyone knows there is always more than one way to solve a problem. We also know that the first solution is not always the right solution. That's why we went to some of our customers and asked the question - What is the major negative impact of narrow banding on your radio system?

The two biggest problems reported were (1) loss of portable talk-back range in remote areas, and (2) Missing calls from dispatch on pagers/radios in remote areas.   

We then reviewed some of the available options to solve the problem.  The cost estimates, depending on the proposed solution offered by local area radio dealers and manufacturers, ranged from a high of $69,000 to a low of $22,500 for a department operating four mobile radios and a mix of twenty five pagers and radios.  We came up with a better way, and it qualifies for AFG funding in the 2014 grant application period expected to open within a few weeks.

Our solution for this same application can provide better coverage to an from dispatch plus the ability to push dispatch paging calls to cell phones as an email or text message.  In other words, we have ADDED redundancy to make sure that everyone gets the call, every time! Better yet, there are NO monthly charges.  You pay no more than $6,699 one time to take care of BOTH major narrow band issues (assuming a department with four mobiles and twenty five pager/radios - slightly more for larger departments) PLUS adding a free secondary dispatch message delivery system!

In addition, we have prepared a free AFG grant application planner with some great ideas on improving your communications while simultaneously better serving your community, getting a better ISO rating and improving firefighter safety. A copy is available by written request to

Sunday, October 19, 2014

School Safety Begins At The Door, But.......

Keeping schools safe begins at the door. No disagreement on that. However, locking the door and providing no access to the public can cause as many problems as it solves. Ideally, access should be provided for staff through the use of a keypad. Timers can be used to automatically open doors during class changes for schools with multiple buildings.  Cameras are very useful for identifying visitors, but there is still the problem of how to deal with unexpected visitors. or even those with appointments.

For example, I recently arrived at a school located about an hour away from Birmingham where I had an appointment.  After walking a quarter mile from the nearest parking place, and up two flights of stairs to the front door, I was greeted by a locked door and a keypad. To be admitted, I had to return to my car, use my cellphone to call the office, and make the trek back to the office - Not very parent, vendor, or visitor friendly!

Low cost wireless call box technology could have eliminated all this without degrading school security.  Click here for a short video on how radio call boxes can provide an efficient and affordable way to communicate with visitors at the door.  As you will note, no wiring or electrical connection is required and calls can be answered from radios you may already be using (If you are not using radios in your school, we need to talk!). Click here to download an interesting article on how a California school system is benefiting from the use of wireless call box technology. If you would like more information, or a demonstration, just give us a call at 800.489.2611 or drop us an email to On a closing note, Wireless Door Intercoms are also especially well suited for any "locked door" area, including church offices, fire stations, industrial plants, loading docks, truck scales, and water treatment plants, to name just a few!.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Everything you ever thought was right about Firefighter communications is probably WRONG!

There are four essential functions related to firefighter communications.  They are as follows:

1) Getting personnel to the scene - Sometimes known as the dispatching process which involves alerting available personnel and monitoring acknowledgement and updates.

2) Mobile communications between fire apparatus and dispatch,  Noise protective headsets for hearing protection and NFPA/OSHA compliance and litigation avoidance are generally recommended.

3) Incident command communications involving communications between fire officers and firefighters on the scene.

4) Confined space and/or aerial ladder communications generally requiring hands free communications capability.

For years, fire departments have been encouraged to purchase ever increasingly more expensive radios and systems to supposedly serve all, or as many functions as possible, with a single device. In twelve step addiction treatment programs, this is known as stinking thinking.  In more polite circles, it is known as tradition, or following the crowd.  Whatever you want to call it, this combined utility concept is WRONG!  Here's why!

1) Volunteer firefighters don't need, or want, to lug around a one pound, two thousand dollar radio.  What THEY want is something light, with message retention, that doesn't cost too much if they lose or damage it.  What dispatch and incident commanders want is immediate reporting that the call has been received and some idea as to how many people will be making the run.  That little blue thing in the upper left hand corner (it's called a Hornet) can do this at a cost of under $400 each AND it's ISO approved!.

2) Firefighters enroute to the scene in vehicles using sirens need hearing protection.  Most assume that expensive headset intercom systems (either wired or wireless) are required. This is not true.  Hearing protection with intercom and radio integration does NOT have to be expensive. The mobile radio used in vehicles needs to be compatible with other systems used in the area, including P25 for SAFECOM approved interoperability. Better yet, we have a simple and affordable device that gives on-scene incident commanders the full power of a mobile from their portable for about half the cost of a vehicular repeater AND, we can operate in band (VHF-VHF) or cross band (VHF-800 MHz) We call it a BlueBox.  You'll call it incredible!

3) All firefighters who are members of a fire department do NOT need permanently assigned radios for on-scene use.  What they DO need is the ability to pick up a fully charged operational radio at the station (or assigned on scene) for those who make the run.  We have some of the most rugged and affordable portable radios available anywhere for less than $400 each with your choice of analog, digital, or both!

4) All kinds of "fixes" are offered for confined space and aerial ladder communications. None of them meet the exacting requirements for fire and rescue activities.  We've got one that DOES with full duplex, hands free operation, long range, and digital audio quality in a wide choice of headsets for a variety of applications for less than the cost of traditional solutions! It's called a Multi-Voice-Radio. There's nothing else quite like it!

The 2014 AFG grant application period should be opening within the next 30 days.  We would welcome the opportunity to work with you in defining a system that works for you. Demonstration system will be available in Birmingham, Alabama, Jackson, MS, and Norcross, Georgia. There is no charge for attending an orientation session at either location. Just let us know the date and time you would like to visit.  We'll have the coffee on!  We are also available for either day or evening meetings attended by multiple departments.  Just let us know where and when you would like to get together.  We'll be there! You can call us at 800.489.2611 or by email to

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Siemens Energy chooses Falcon Wireless for improved plant safety

Siemens Energy is all about employee safety. That's why Todd Irgens, Employee Health and Safety Manager teamed up with Daryl Montgomery, Facilities Manger of the Richland, Mississippi plant to come up with a simple, efficient, and affordable way to allow production workers to quickly get assistance when needed.

After reviewing the requirements of OSHAS 18001 (Click here for more information), it was determined that electronic wireless call boxes could be located through the plant production area to allow employees to summon assistance at the press of a button.  Falcon  Wireless offered such a product, but Siemens wanted special features that were not available in the standard production models.  So, we custom built it!  It's called an Emergency Alert Station (EAS).   

We produced a prototype in 30 days and shipped the first twenty units within 30 more days. We only had one glitch. The units were personally delivered in lightly packed boxes.  Two layers of units were placed in two large boxes.  It never crossed our mind that the call buttons might be accidentally depressed by the weight and motion of the top units.  Suffice it to say that accidental activation was more than a possibility.  There was also some concern as to whether the EAS units would cover the entire plant. This proved not to be a valid issue.

As I approached the plant, over ten miles away, calls started coming through on the plant 2-way radios  - Assistance needed in reception area.  This calls continued until I pulled up in the parking lot.  Todd and Daryl were waiting for me.  They even unloaded the units (I guess to keep me from compounding the error).  All ended well.  The EAS units were capable of covering the entire plant area and a WHOLE lot more!.  

BTW, we can help with other issues that may be important to you, such as proper FCC licensing for 2-way radios, OSHA requirements for mass notification, hearing protection, and much, much more.  We also have some useful tips on how to select the best 2-way radios with the lowest total cost and the least downtime.  Additional information is available at

If you are involved in manufacturing activities, subject to the requirements of OSHAS 18001, you might want to take a look our Emergency Alert Stations for your plant.  We'll be glad to provide additional information and a demonstration.  Just give us a call at 800.489.2611

Sunday, October 12, 2014

In The News - Making Schools Safer!

The word is getting around!  Falcon Community Services is leading the way in making schools safer all over Alabama!  Not only schools, courthouses, and business, but neighborhoods as well.  Most recently, the Oxford, Alabama school system made the news with our ActionAlert technology!

If you would like to know what the buzz is all about, click here for a copy of a video story by ABC 33/40 on the system we designed for the DeArmanville Elementary School. And that's just part of the story! Wait till you see some of the other new products and services we are offering to make our educational institutions the safest in the world!  More information is available at or by just giving us a call at 800.489.2611.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Little Radio That Could.......

Remember the children's book, The Little Engine That Could? It was one of those stories of overcoming apparently impossible obstacles and winning against all odds. Now we have The Little Radio That Could.  It's called the PD362!

We got a call from a school principal the other day. His school  uses radios for bus loading, general administration, security, housekeeping, and maintenance. They had several problems. The current radios had dead spots (multi-building campus), the ladies (and the men too although they would not admit it) hated the current radios.  They were bulky with antennas designed to stick the user in the ribs. The batteries required frequent replacement, and the range had never been the same since narrow banding. But the BIGGEST problem was too much talking on a single channel!

Then we told them about the Little Radio That Could, the PD362, that could talk to the buses in the analog mode and PRIVATELY in the digital mode.  Not only could user groups talk privately, but all together when needed.  The lost range was recovered, the dead spots went away, the battery life was extended, and they had both voice and silent short text messaging capability.  Short text messaging gave administration personnel the ability to be notified and respond while in meetings.  And, the little radio really IS little, weighing in at less than six ounces with no stick in the ribs antenna! The Little Radio really COULD solve all their problems and it costs no more than their old analog radios.  Want to know more? Drop us an email to or give us a call at 800.489.2611. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gadsden Alabama - Home of High Tech, Low Cost Court Administration!

You may have to squint a bit to see it, but in the upper left hand corner, there is a PA speaker.  It is mounted just below the roof line of Gadsden Alabama Municipal Court building.  What makes this of interest is there may be  others with similar needs.

Gadsden had a problem.  On Court days, the number of persons awaiting trial was greater than the space available in the waiting area.  Falcon Wireless proposed a solution - the LoudMouth wireless public address system, radio controlled by court security personnel with one speaker set at reduced volume for use inside the court waiting area and another set for volume sufficient to be heard outside.

A single speaker, mounted just outside the door provides sufficient volume to allow defendants to sit in the comfort of their vehicles anywhere in the parking lot. Now, THAT is consideration for the public - cost effective and convenient too! The whole system including the wireless PA amplifier with internal radio receiver and a license free portable radio was purchased for less than a thousand dollars.  Do YOU have a similar need?  If so, just give us a call at 800.489.2611.  In the meantime, additional information is available by clicking here!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Falcon Wireless Announces AlarmPlus!

Most banks, credit unions, convenience stores, pharmacies, and other locations at high risk of robbery and burglary are "protected" by a commercial alarm service.  The fact is that they are NOT adequately protected. The reason being that the average armed robbery is completed in a little under three minutes.  Burglary takes a little longer, typically around four minutes,  The problem is that the average response time for city crime is ten minutes and MUCH longer in rural areas!

Adding an AlarmPlus can often reduce response times to two minutes or less for a one time cost of as little as $445. That's typically less than the deductible for the average commercial insurance policy. You still get to keep your commercial alarm service for your security blanket. All the features still work the same way. All the sensors and personal call buttons work as they always did. Your calls will still be dialed into an alarm center that will answer, verify, and notify 911 who will then dispatch the call to you local law enforcement agency. The difference is that your participating law enforcement agency can be notified in less than 10 seconds by AlarmPlus!

Your alarm service contractor can connect AlarmPlus in just a few minutes and you will be in business.  There are no monthly fees and no contracts.  All that is required is an agreement with your local law enforcement agency and/or other members of your business community.  Don't worry about the details - We take care of everything!  Want to know more?  Click here for a short video that provides an overview of our services along with an appointment scheduler for a demonstration and additional information.  If you prefer, just give us a call at 800.489.2611.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Is Motorola Ineligible to sell products on GSA or paid for with Federal funding?

It appears that Motorola may be ineligible to sell many of their products, including the popular Minitor VI pager, through GSA, or to users making payment with federal funds.  A request for clarification is currently pending at the department level (both GSA and FEMA). It is my understanding that this issue may require involvement by the U.S Attorney General.  How did all this happen?

Without getting too complicated, it is necessary only to understand that GSA Schedule Contracts are subject to the Trade Agreements Act (TAA), meaning all products listed on the GSA Schedule Contract must be manufactured or "substantially transformed” in a "designated country”  In other words those countries that are not participants in the TAA agreement (Click here for a current list as of July 2014) are excluded as GSA suppliers. Notably, this includes China, India and Malaysia.

Now things get a little complicated. The majority of Motorola products, as best we can determine, are manufactured in (you guessed it), China and Malaysia. So this would indicate that these products can not be sold or purchased on GSA contract, but wait - there's more!

If the Federal Government can not purchase products that are not TAA compliant on GSA, it follows that Federal Grant money must follow the same requirements as GSA. What a revoltin' development this is! (Some of you will recall where that statement came from).

So, if Federal Government agencies are prohibited from purchasing non TAA compliant products, then it would appear the grant funds from DHS and agencies within DHS (such as FEMA) cannot allow spending of Federal grant money to purchase non TAA compliant products!  There is no final decision on what action will be taken at this time, but for now, wouldn't it be a good idea to consider products that are TAA Compliant - like Relm Wireless for P25 radios and US Alert for monitor pagers?  We've got them, and at great prices too! For more information, just give us a call at 800.489.2611.