Oak Bay Fire Chief Darren Hughes gets a demonstration of portable radios as fire officials from around the region, including the Saanich Peninsula, received training on the digital vehicular repeater system. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

New system aims to increase coverage, cut costs for Greater Victoria first responders

Local fire crews continue switch to new system

On the surface, it looks like a medium-sized suitcase. However, what’s inside the digital vehicular repeater system (DVRS) can save money and ultimately lives.

Fire officials from across Greater Victoria gathered in Central Saanich Wednesday morning to receive training on the DVRS, which roughly amounts to be being a portable WiFi booster that improves digital communication for firefighters while on scene.

Capital Region Emergency Service Telecommunications (CREST) is currently migrating to an all-digital platform and the Project 25 technology presented Wednesday promises to offer many improved system features that will strengthen public and emergency responder safety, not to mention help people in need of assistance.

Following a comprehensive testing and training period, Greater Victoria’s core area went ‘live’ for police agencies in January. Fire agencies in the core (minus the Victoria Fire Department) moved onto the new P25 network over the summer. Peninsula agencies have been testing the new system and are poised to follow.

Taso Barous, a communication technologist with CREST, said communication channels in analogue mode are subject to interference that can make it difficult to receive and transmit information. Digital-mode communication clears up the audio but requires expensive towers and new building techniques among other factors such as distance impair wireless communication.

RELATED: CREST technology goes digital

Wireless public safety networks have been deployed on the premise that an “outdoor network of high sites” would provide the necessary coverage, according to a background briefing provided at Wednesday’s event. But this approach leaves many individuals working in high-rise office buildings, shopping malls, hospitals, government buildings and tunnels with severely limited coverage for emergency services. To fill this in would be impractical economically.

This is where the DVRS kicks in noted Barous. “You bring the coverage with you.”

The distance a DVRS can boost a signal depends on a number of factors, including terrain, vegetation and buildings. It costs about $20,000, which is far below the cost of a wireless tower.

According to the briefing, all emergency and public service agencies in the Capital Region support the transition towards Project 25 as part of CREST’s technology infrastructure, which includes 30 transmission sites, more than 50 in-vehicle repeaters, and 2,500 mobile and portable radios.

Preparation to launch the Project 25 system in core communities started in 2017. In 2018, new infrastructure/transmission sites appeared in High Rock Park in Esquimalt and in View Royal to fill coverage gaps.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: Saanich resident shocked when trespasser licks security camera, rummages through mail

‘I found the situation really bizarre,’ said the Gordon Head resident

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Bulk or boxed candy? Trick-or-treat maps help Canadian families prepare for Halloween

Census Mapper uses 2016 census data to predict busiest neighbourhoods

Black Press Media celebrates women who are making a difference

Helping others is the cornerstone of the work Shannon Drew does in… Continue reading

Goldstream Food Bank on the search to fill Christmas Hampers with toys

Volunteers are looking for new toys for infants to 11-year-olds

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read