Fire fighters grumble about poor TETRA coverage in Kalmthout, Belgium
ASTRID still waiting on green light to purchase modern sattelite technology.
"It was hard work," says the fire brigade about the night working on heathland in Kalmthout. Not only the strong wind caused problems, but also the communications of the ASTRID emergency services did not made things any easier. "the communication system failed throughout the whole night ," said Fire Chief Eric Janssen to the colleagues of the VRT radio news. "And anyway, the coverage of the network on the moor was already weak."
The first assertion is denied by Astrid Jansen, but the last confirmed. "During the fire there were about 20 firefighters on the moors, where coverage is weak anyway," says Astrid spokesman Frederick Langhendries. "We have the heath always covered, but only mobile coverage, ie. only in vehicles. But fire fighting on the heath fires is not only done from vehicles. Becausue of that, many firefighters also use portable devices. Thus they encountered problems."
When Astrid was reported around 1:00 a.m., technicians where sent on site. "We have an MTU, a truck with an antenna, to be sent over there to cover for additional protection. Currently the MTU is not designed for such incidents, or for planned events, because it takes some time to implement the network. That was okay since 6:28 this morning. "Langhendries also points out delicately that since the 2008 financial plan involving the purchase of modern satellite technology for the MTU's but that still does not have happened. "We still have not received the green light of our supervisory authority for that investment. With such technology, we would be much more quickly up and running."
Whether is not necessary to ensure better coverage on the heath? "We have a list of questions from users where there is an" operational need "is a better coverage of our network. It is up to the advisory committee for prioritization to those places. Ultimately, our network is evolving, there are regularly new masts being placed. "