By Christian Thornton
Going back to 2013 or even earlier, first responders have reported that they are dealing with a growing number of incidents involving interference on radio frequencies meant only for emergency use. Authorities have reported that children are using two-way radios, such as those available for purchase as toys. Unbeknownst to them however, they often talk on airwaves designated only for emergencies. Because these items are marketed for private use, or even as toys, the average person doesn’t realize the consequences of what they are doing. According to the Philadelphia EMS service, children interrupted emergency channels 10 times so far this year alone. The interference can range from simple static on the frequency, or in some cases have resulted in a complete disruption of the entire channel.
One noticeable incident involved police units responding to what they believed was an emergency because children were playing on a radio channel reserved for use by the local civilian safety watch group. While the interference hasn’t led to any life-threatening situations, EMS providers say the risk is there if children continue playing on frequencies that are not meant for fun and games.
With the increase in the number of devices utilizing a limited bandwidth, this issue is becoming more prevalent and as a result, spectrum management is more of a requirement within the workplace. Like many specialized areas, spectrum management, while touched on in school, is mainly learned on the job. As such, it can be difficult to prove this qualification in audit situations or to potential customers.
iNARTE recognizes this gap and much as we’ve done with EMC and ESD are taking steps to fill in the missing piece to this vital area. We will soon have a new certification focused on this very topic. Top industry experts have worked with us to develop questions which reflect the issues facing those who deal with spectrum management. Stay tuned to future newsletters for updates on this new certification.