Sooke emergency crews to get new radio system

New technology uses digital signal instead of analog

Sooke emergency crews are getting an upgrade to their radio communications system.

The new system, operated by Capital Region Emergency Service Telecommunications (CREST), will use digital technology, as opposed to the analog signal they use now.

“It will allow for remarkably better audio quality, and more channels,” said Gord Horth, general manager for CREST, adding the technology emergency crews are using now is around 15 years old, so it was time for an upgrade.

“At the end of the day, the new system will just be more reliable. Having more channels available means there will be less congestion. So in the case of an event or accident where everyone is using the same channel, this will give crews other channel options and clear things up a lot more.”

Another effect of the change to the digital signal in a dedicated bandwidth is that the signals will be encrypted, making the outside monitoring of emergency channels far more difficult.

“In today’s world, we have to be aware of privacy concerns. When emergency crews are responding and giving out names and medical conditions it’s important that we try to aware of peoples privacy needs and the ability of anyone with a scanner to pick up that information under our current system,” noted Horth.

CREST is also looking to extend it’s coverage by building new transmission sites, which are like cell-phone towers, throughout Greater Victoria.

“Right now we have about 10, and we are looking to have around 31 sites,” said Horth.

The Sooke area has four transmission sites, and Horth said they are hoping to double that amount, as well as extend their coverage further in the direction of Port Renfrew.

Horth said new sites can be difficult to get, because they involve a lot of community consultation, and must be connected to a power site.

Sooke emergency crews aren’t expected to be hooked up to the digital signal until 2019, but they got new radios in the meantime. The radios can be used on both the old analog signal and the new digital signal.

“We recommended that all the crews in Greater Victoria get the new radios now so they can get used to them, and then the transition to the digital system will be very smooth,” explained Horth.

RELATED: Motorola lands $13.1-million CREST contract

Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount said he is looking forward to the new system, and added that the new radios have much clearer audio than the previous radios.

“We are just trying to stay current with modern technology, and take advantage of its benefits,” said Mount.

His only concern with switching over to the new system next year is that the digital signal might not be as effective as analog inside buildings.

“It depends on the area though, and we will go through a lot of testing when the time comes to make sure there aren’t any issues,” said Mount.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Bizarre accident sends vehicle into water

Elderly Sooke resident involved in an accident in his driveway

Victoria police searching for missing 72-year-old man

Albert Bedard was reported missing Oct. 13, believed to be in Sooke or Duncan

West Shore RCMP tape off Langford law office sent suspicious substance last month

No confirmation as to why police were back at Hemminger Law Group Monday afternoon

Central Saanich will allow police officers to use pot

Marijuana use by officers not allowed 24 hours before duty

Two drivers crash through Victoria homes in two weeks

VicPD say alcohol is believed to a factor in both incidents

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Advance voting begins Oct. 10 in Greater Victoria

The polls open at 8 a.m. for the 2018 municipal election with the general election taking place Oct. 20

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

Most Read