On top of the world
Written by: SFL Mobile Radio | Published:

(Advertisement feature) SFL Mobile Radio has helped the Galway Mountain Rescue Team scale new heights in essential communications that can be the difference between life and death.

With a primary response area spanning more than 700 sq miles, including some of Ireland’s most rugged terrain, effective communications are vital to the team’s mission of saving lives.

In 2017 the Galway Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) spent 3,500 hours providing a 24/7 rescue service in remote and mountainous areas. When the team realised their radio communications equipment was no longer up to the task, they turned to SFL, a Motorola Solutions Platinum Reseller, who assessed their requirements to provide in-depth advice and guidance before supplying a range of equipment to suit their specific needs.

Due to the nature of the terrain which Galway MRT operates in, and due to the complexity of a mountain rescue operation, a new radio system had to be light-weight, have built-in GPS unit for tracking purposes, be fully waterproof and shock-resistant, provide interoperability with other mountain rescue teams in Ireland and, ideally, facilitate encrypted communication.

‘Brilliant Opportunity’
SFL’s unique understanding of customer requirements, gained from operating alongside the MoD and emergency service sectors for many years, enabled it it to recommend a bespoke radio system to the Galway MRT team.

SFL sales director, Steven Landsborough, said: “Our R&D team has many years’ experience creating unique solutions for public safety departments. This project with Galway Mountain Rescue is a brilliant opportunity for SFL Mobile Radio to showcase our versatility and deliver a mission critical RF solution that will improve Galway Mountain Rescue’s efficiency and communication during rescues, and ultimately save lives.

“It is fantastic to be working alongside Motorola Solutions, as a Platinum Partner and Application Developer, and we are proud to be in a position to provide applications to this important sector.”

With SFL’s expert guidance, the Galway team made the decision to replace all existing handsets with the DP3661e and to adopt the TRBOnet Enterprise Dispatch system to provide central communications control from their base vehicle. The team also invested in a SLR 5500 repeater protected by a rugged IP68 Peli Case. It is connected to the vehicle’s telescopic pump up mast and is used to augment communications when team members are operating beyond line of sight.

‘Very Impressed’
Combining the Motorola Solutions DP3661e radio, SLR 5500 repeater and TRBOnet software suite, meets all the team’s requirements and offers features such as text messaging, communication recording, message encryption, and the possibility of deploying the repeater to a location remote from the base vehicle to extend the network range.

The repeater can work standalone or connect to TRBOnet Enterprise software housed on the mobile control room’s PC via LAN or WiFi. Crucially, this allows the mobile mountain rescue team using the DP3661e radios to be tracked for safety reasons.

Galway MRT Rory Sherlock is delighted with the change from analogue VHF to digital VHF: “We have been very impressed by the TRBOnet Enterprise Dispatch software,” he said. “The ability to contact individual handsets or handset-groups is great, and the text messaging facility means vital details such as National Grid references can be issued to some or all members with few of the errors seen with the older system.”

‘Simply Fantastic’
The experience with the system has been very positive for the Galway MRT who have noted how communication between team members is clearer than before, how well the real-time GPS tracking works, and how light and reliable the Motorola devices are.

“The ability to track the location of every team member on the hill is simply fantastic,” enthused Sherlock. “Seeing a marker for every team member on a single computer screen allows the search manager to see the progress of the search in real time and adjust the search plan as required. It also ensures a heightened level of safety for every team member, as we can track their location accurately despite darkness or poor weather conditions.”

The upgrade has had immediate benefits for the Galway MRT in areas from rescue missions to training new members. “Good communications are vital to successful operations and we can all remember operations where poor communications caused delays and misunderstandings,” added Sherlock. “To be as efficient and effective as possible, we need to have clear, robust communications at all times.”

SFL Mobile Radio offers two way radio communication solutions to a wide range of sectors with both purchase and hire options available. Visit www.sflmobileradio.co.uk or contact us by phone 0151 334 9160 or email stevenl@sflmobileradio.co.uk

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