Friday, November 7, 2014

Digital pagers a solution to analog pager loss or range caused by narrow banding?

We noted with interest a recent article suggesting the use of digital pagers to provide reliable notification to volunteer firefighters that were have coverage issues with narrow band analog pagers. While we agree that a privately owned digital paging network can meet both operational and compliance (ISO) issues, it is not necessarily the best economic choice.  Alphanumeric paging is a a quarter century old technology and extremely limited in operational capability. Or, saying it another way, it is less than half a solution.  Fortunately, there is a similar solution based on advanced digital paging technology that has 2-way capability along with the ability to monitor and report assault, burglary, fire, robbery, and emergency medical assistance.

The system infrastructure is no more expensive than the examples in the article published by Radio Resource magazine.  The difference is that 2-way digital paging system can actually provide a payback by using a combination of technology and community planning.  For example, digital paging addresses only the ability to notify personnel in times of need.  2-way digital paging allows a person with medical needs, or a person being robbed or assaulted, to use the same device to summon help.  Calls from the 2-way pager can be sent to others with 2-way pagers or cellphones in the immediate area (business, governmental, institutional, or residential) for instant response.  The primary responders can directly summon EMS, Fire, or Law Enforcement at the touch of a button. The use of 2-way digital technology can actually REDUCE the number of emergency medical calls and false alarms by partnering with members of the community; a win-win proposition for all concerned!

A variation of the 2-way digital pager is available for premise monitoring and notification.   These devices can be directly connected to commercial alarm systems to provide direct notification to first responders.  Case in point - rural churches are frequent targets of arsonists, thieves, and vandals; along with fires caused by lightning, electrical malfunctions etc.  Both the personal and the fixed version of the 2-way digital pager can send text messages directly to PCs, cell phones, or other digital 2-way devices.  In a rural area, it is not uncommon to experience delays of up to a half hour when using a commercial alarm service, 911, and available first responders.  With 2-way digital technology, church officials, the local volunteer fire department, merchants, and even neighbors can be alerted within 10 seconds or less!

Better yet, this technology may be eligible for FEMA grant funding under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program which is currently open for submission of applications.  The closing date for submission of grant applications ends on December 5th, 2014. A free Planner is available by clicking here.