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CREST Emergency Radio system


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#1 G-Man

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 09:32 AM

According to a locked article in the TC it is tall buildings that are causing the system not to work. Who would have guessed that this kind of problem would rear its head in Victoria and not New York, Vancouver, Toronto...

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#2 Holden West

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 09:44 AM

Obviously, the solution is to redirect criminals to Central Saanich where the signal is clearer.

The article can be found [url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/capital_van_isl/story.html?id=5291e0e6-f667-4423-9ea3-c42c96913f8a&k=45929:b3915]here[/url:b3915].
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#3 Icebergalley

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 10:28 AM

According to a locked article in the TC it is tall buildings that are causing the system not to work. Who would have guessed that this kind of problem would rear its head in Victoria and not New York, Vancouver, Toronto...


Those who didn't want to pay for the "enhancements" that tall buildings or deep concrete parkades or "high mountains" require...

I'm sure that any developer who is marketing the "security" of their project will now add a caveat that The Crest system will work in our building... Maybe? or maybe they will have that spec'ed as part of their wireless component of a modern building...

It isn't new rocket science, just plain ordinary attention to the context...

#4 Holden West

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 10:34 AM

The day after CREST is finally perfected, after spending hundreds of millions of dollars, someone will invent a cheap method of satellite coverage rendering all that effort immediately obsolete.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#5 G-Man

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 10:46 AM

It just seems strange to blame once again all the new construction when it is all the current buildings that are causing this trouble. These same buildings were here when they designed the system this should not be new information. They should been putting up towers when it was first constructed not blaming buildings that are not even contructed yet like the Falls (shorter than the building around it) and the Hudson.

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#6 bcradio

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 10:50 AM

The CREST system was done on the cheap. The coverage guarantee that is in most Motorola contracts (and within the original RFP) were dropped as negotiations went on. There was insufficent training for end users. It can be fixed, but it will take money and time. Hopefully we won't run out of either.

#7 Mike K.

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 10:55 AM

Fortin is off the deep end here. G-man nailed it.

Now pay attention to the last paragraphs of this piece. I don't know how the reporter managed to do it, but he introduced a problem only to solve it by the end of the article. Verdict: non-issue, thanks to Councillor Fortin :roll:

Councillor wants developers to install radio repeater towers
BY ROB SHAW Times Colonist staff
Look up, way up, and you’ll see a towering problem for emergency crews in parts of downtown Victoria.

Large office and condo buildings are blocking emergency radio signals used by ambulance, fire and police.

With several major downtown towers planned, Victoria is looking at making developers responsible for such installations as repeater towers or antennas that could improve radio signals inside and around the buildings.

“Every time we build another big building — and we know this — it interferes with our radios,” said Coun. Dean Fortin.

“There’s a cost associated with going bigger and higher. One of the things we can do is require our higher buildings to put in a system that enhances our [radio] coverage.”

Fortin asked city staff to work on the issue last week, after the release of a technical study on the region’s troubled emergency radio system, CREST. The study pointed out serious reception problems in the city’s downtown core.

Victoria buildings often blocked signals, creating spotty reception called urban canyoning, said Tom Gray of California-based RCC Consultants, who authored the report. As well, radio reception inside the building was so poor it often worked only by accident because the system had never been designed to penetrate certain structures.

To solve the problem, CREST — which stands for Capital Region Emergency Service Telecommunications — should install extra towers and satellite receivers closer to downtown, said the consultant. As well, the study recommended municipalities create bylaws requiring developers to take into consideration radio reception in buildings.

Fortin, who is Victoria’s representative on the CREST board of directors, said he hopes such a bylaw could soon be drafted in Victoria.

“I personally think we should do it in a matter of weeks because there are some major buildings coming down the track,” said Fortin.

Once Victoria introduces the bylaw, any new development application would have to be radiofriendly, he said.

But some recently approved projects — such as The Falls, an 18-storey condo planned at Douglas and Courtney Streets, and 24- and 18-storey condo towers at The Hudson planned for the old Bay building on Douglas Street — would not have to adhere to the bylaw unless they chose to do so voluntarily, said Fortin.

Mayor Alan Lowe said improving radio signals within buildings should be the city’s top priority.

“I believe more important is the in-building penetration. We are having more difficulty in underground parking garages, which have no height at all,” Lowe said.

“It is an issue that we have to look at, but this may not be the major problem. Most transmitters are located high on top of the tallest buildings so that radio signals are not disrupted.”


There are already a few repeater towers on top of Victoria buildings, but they require emergency crews to switch to a separate radio channel. Victoria police have refused to do this because they say it is too difficult to switch channels during an emergency situation.

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#8 aastra

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 10:27 AM

Large office and condo buildings are blocking emergency radio signals used by ambulance, fire and police.

Hmm. I wonder why large hotels, churches, and government buildings don't have the same negative effect? Are we saying they're made of different stuff?

“Every time we build another big building — and we know this — it interferes with our radios,” said Coun. Dean Fortin.

Oh, I see. It's only when we build ANOTHER big building. The ones that were built a long time ago are no problem.















#9 aastra

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 10:38 AM

Look up, way up...

Okay, I'm looking. So Victoria does have tall buildings after all? Is this what they're saying?

I suppose they'd claim all the tall buildings were built in the past two or three years.

#10 G-Man

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 10:41 AM

Exactly!

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#11 Galvanized

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 09:35 AM

Crest improvements could cost $10 million

By Brennan Clarke
Apr 26 2007

Greater Victoria's troubled CREST emergency radio system will cost between $6 million and $10 million to fix, according to a consultant's report released Thursday.

The $206,000 report's key recommendations were increasing the number of towers, buying in-vehicle repeaters to improve hand-held radio coverage, adding satellite receiver sites and changing how the portable radios are worn by users.

CREST board chair Hy Freedman said the system’s 36 members - including Greater Victoria municipalities, police forces and fire departments, BC Transit and the BC Ambulance Service - will have to review the report before the exact costs and technical details of fixing the system can be pinned down.

CREST, short for Capital Region Emergency System Telecommunications, cost about $17.5 million when it was acquired five years ago. Freedman, who spoke at a media briefing alongside CREST general manager Gordon Horth, said even with the improvements, the system will reach the end of its “useful life” between 2015 and 2020.

Police officers and firefighters in Victoria have been among the system's most vocal critics, arguing that substandard coverage in downtown buildings is a job hazard.

The board has already set aside $1 million in cash and borrowed an additional $4 million for the anticipated upgrades.

CREST's voting structure will require unanimous approval if any more money is to be spent on the system.

© Copyright 2007 Victoria News
Past President of Victoria's Flâneur Union Local 1862

#12 Holden West

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 09:43 AM

Solution:



$29.95 a pair.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#13 m0nkyman

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 09:51 AM

Yeah. Scrap it now, stop wasting money, and buy something that will work. In a city. One with buildings and stuff.....

#14 Mike K.

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 10:45 AM

...and these rocket scientists are about to embark on a multi-billion dollar sewage treatment plant.

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#15 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 10:57 AM

$206K study to tell us to spend another $10M. Great.

Meanwhile, my $100 cell phone seems to work everywhere, I can't think of a time it got no signal.
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#16 Icebergalley

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 01:20 PM

Wasn't it similar penny pinching thoughts, not lack of understanding of the technicalities that put CREST into it's sorry state... ?

Didn't Vic police do just that go and get cell phones to compensate for the penny pinching that put them in danger... ?

and, wasn't CREST - a digital system supposed to be state of the art.. ? a few years ago...

Fix the thing and figure out how to transition to the next state of the art.... not support a nay sayer on the board who, imo, is using "state of the art" to not spend the money that should have been tranparently budgeted when the "cuts" were made to the spec....

#17 Rorschach

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 08:00 AM

The situation has pretty much hit the saturation level as far as media coverage. The story is now nationwide. Truth be told, the spotty radio communications is very dangerous to officers. Likewise, pairing up officers in two-man units or sending two units to every call for service is going to result in resources being depleted quickly and longer delays in responding to routine calls. The situation is bad by anyone's standards.

The suggested solution of changing the broadcast frequency of the equipment is going to help out a bit, but swapping out every piece of equipment and every antenna is going to cost a fortune. It would probably bankrupt the vendor if they were forced into doing it which of course means it won't happen. Different frequencies penetrate buildings better and some have longer range and less interference. The way cell phones work is a little miracle of physics where the frequencies they use result in only the strongest signal on the same frequency being heard which completely cancels out any other signal on the same frequency without any interference. But, police can't use that frequency or even one like it. The frequency they do use is one that does not penetrate buildings too well. It's like the difference between AM and FM. One has a range and the other has better penetration.

So, the solution in my mind is to get the hand-held walkie-talkies broadcasting on the high frequencies so that they penetrate buildings, and add a lower frequency repeater to the individual patrol cars. So the walkie-talkie's transmission just has to get to the nearby patrol car. The mini-repeater in the patrol car receives the transmission while simultaneously re-broadcasting it on the low frequency that the dispatcher hears and has the long range. Another thing they can do is get the extender microphones (the thing that goes from the walkie-talkie on their belt to their shoulder) with the antenna on the top of the microphone. The baloney about having the antenna close to the head causing cancer is complete bullcrap. It's simply physically impossible for radio waves to cause any tissue damage no matter how many people believe this. The wave lengths are way too big and it is just impossible for them to have any affect on organic matter. It takes ionizing radiation to have such an effect.

I'm not sure if they have to buy new portable radios or just clone a new frequency into the ones they have. Each walkie-talkie costs over $1000 dollars and the patrol car repeaters will cost about $1000 each too, but at least they won't have to replace every piece of major equipment and all the broadcast towers. Any solution is going to be expensive. I think if the vendor gets sued, they'll go out of business. I hope that vendor has insurance. That's what I'd be looking into.

#18 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 09:02 AM

I don't think the situation is all that dangerous. If, for example, the cops get a call for a domestic where a gun is registered on-premise, they will not attend alone. Any other call that describes a person with any weapon at all demands a multiple-cop response.

I really can't think of a situation where a cop with no abilty to call for back-up would make matters worse. What I'm saying is that when he gets called to a very low-priority call, where one officer would suffice, there is little or no danger present.

Now, if he happens on a crime in a parkade etc. he doesn't need immediate emergency back-up in 99.9% of cases. Like, if I'm in the bottom of the Bay Centre in the bathroom and I'm assualted and have no communicator (cell-phone etc.) I'm in a worse situation than an armed and trained cop that happens in on a bad situation.

There is always a worst-case scenario, like a guy holed up in the Empress Hotel and sniping out the window, but how often does that happen?
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#19 Rorschach

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 09:57 AM

Here's a good link for local scanner frequencies in case you want to listen in first hand to what is going on:

[url=http://www.members.shaw.ca/bcscanner/index.htm:6eb7c]Vancouver Island Scanner Reference[/url:6eb7c]

You raise an interesting point VHF. As strange as it might seem, the most dangerous police calls are not the ones where danger is expected. Every officer goes into those knowing it's dangerous and is on-guard. Dangerous situations are safe because you're ready and prepared and not taking risks. It's the routine stuff that can go to shit in a hurry when you don't anticipate it and where everyone is relaxed. That's when an officer is in the most danger - something that can't or isn't expected. And you need that radio to work. A officer could be shot and dying on the street responding to a stolen bicycle report call or a barking dog complaint. You have to have that radio.

Any kind of contact with any bad guy anywhere you have to be able to communitate with the dispatcher and see if the guy has warrants or a history of violence or is wanted and every other cop needs to be listening to what all the other cops are doing all the time. If they just needed basic point-to-point commuication they could all use cell phones for everything.

The reality of the tactical situation is something regular people can't truly comprehend or appreciate. There's a poster I've seen with a dark alley and a dim light at the end and the caption, "You wouldn't go in there for a million dollars. Cops do it for a lot less."

#20 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 10:43 AM

A officer could be shot and dying on the street responding to a stolen bicycle report call or a barking dog complaint. You have to have that radio.


OK, let's take these one at a time. The radio likely won't help the cop here, and someone is likely near to call an ambulance.

Any kind of contact with any bad guy anywhere you have to be able to communitate with the dispatcher and see if the guy has warrants or a history of violence or is wanted and every other cop needs to be listening to what all the other cops are doing all the time. If they just needed basic point-to-point commuication they could all use cell phones for everything.

You have a very valid point here.

The reality of the tactical situation is something regular people can't truly comprehend or appreciate. There's a poster I've seen with a dark alley and a dim light at the end and the caption, "You wouldn't go in there for a million dollars. Cops do it for a lot less."

That may be true of an alley in inner-city Detroit. I can't think of an alley I wouldn't go down here anywhere, especially if I was armed with a gun and trained to use it. However, I've seen the odd cougar in Trounce Alley late at night, exiting the Tapa Bar. :lol:
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

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