WASHINGTON — When D.C. firefighters responded to Metro’s smoky tunnel near the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station Monday they may have been hampered by faulty communications. One person was killed and scores of others were hurt…
The source blames the problem on new digitally-trunked radios which he says are ineffective underground such as the smoky Metro tunnel.
D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Tim Wilson confirms that there were some problems with the radios during Monday’s incident. But he insists the problem did not delay or hinder the emergency response.
“My understanding is that there were some radio issues and that they switched channels in order to communicate,” Wilson says, “the radios did not hamper our ability to respond.”
A second D.C. Fire Department source, who asks not to be named, says that there was interference with the radios being used by firefighters inside the tunnel and some testing is underway aimed at correcting the problem.
Wilson says the radio issues were not caused by new encryption technology now being used in D.C. Fire Department communications. The D.C. Fire Department began using encrypted radios in December. Tactical and EMS channels are now encrypted, preventing third parties from hearing the signal.