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BA Set, EX Rated Radios?


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I'm curious what other brigades have, but I would have expected that the radios on BA sets were EX rated.  I'm trying to collect some other data points on other brigades. I'd argue that fire gases very much constitute an explosive atmosphere and as such should have zone rated equipment.

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Not sure if by EX it’s the same as intrinsically safe? 

If so, we switched over last couple years to new Motorola’s that operate both analogue and digital. When we received the training, pretty much everyone on station commented that none of the radios we were getting for the pump and sets were intrinsically safe, with the service instead having a bank of radios stored on our command support units and tech rescue. We even tried to argue that we are one of 2 hazmat stations with all GT suits and associated equipment to deal with hazmat, so should have them on our ISU, but still no.

To be fair, we’ve had no issues with that side of things with the radios since the change and procedures are in place to not do things such as battery changes when in that atmosphere.

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We've more or less gone for the same approach as @Crog with the Motorola set up, except we do have the intrinsically safe ones on selected other hazmat or rescue pumps. 

As with some of the comments in the LFB review main reason was the better coverage with the higher powered non IS version as opposed to do you actually need IS for the majority of jobs. 

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East and West Sussex have recently gone with Tait as they are offering a high power (4w) EX radio this is standard on all trucks for BA. They also have a few with an even higher EX rating but these are limited to 1w output.

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  • 11 months later...

IS = Intrinsic Safety

EX = Explosive atmospheres

Dependent on the explosive atmosphere (gas) different types of radios can be used based upon risk assessment. Risk can be linked to many aspects including ability to communicate or not being able to communicate, this too is a risk.

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive adopt ATEX = ATmosphères EXplosives which in simplistic terms means Devices intended for use in explosive atmospheres.

There are two main types of ATEX radios:

1) ATEX IIC which is 1 watt of transmit power and often used in higher risk atmospheres

2) ATEX IIA which has 4 watts of transmit power, and is restricted to less volatile gas atmospheres.

When balancing risk assessed situations of potential hazardous gas whilst maximising radio communication range, FRS's are now considering selecting ATEX IIA radios, with some ATEX IIC for specific higher risk situations.

ATEX IIA offers increased safety over non ATEX radios while still providing maximum range of communication, very similar to that of non ATEX radios.

This is the rational of East and West Sussex FRS.

Hope this helps.

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