CELL PHONE CALL INTERFERENCE HINDERS POLICE AND FIRE RESCUES
By Jane Celltower
CBS NEWS - Tech - April 6, 2004.
Washington, Associated Press Release - Johnathan D. Salant
Cell phones are causing dangerous problems for firefighters and police officers when they can't use their radios to issue help and response calls due to interference from cell signals. This article was of particular interest to me, due to the same problems with my cell phone coverage since the T- Mobile celltower in my backyard has been active. Dropped calls, wobble and metalic sounds, echo effect, can't hear the person I called, in and out coverage has become a major source of perplextion. I mentioned this to my call phone carrier manager who seemed quite concerned. "If this is happening to you, this affects others. FCC needs to be made aware of all interference of coverage and calls."
Cambridge, Mass. , a Boston suburb is one of the areas that has had problems with past cell phone interference. The discovery was made when an officer responded to a fight at an apartment and had to walk to the other side of the high-rise to call for backup. Another incident was reported when an officer responding to a burglar alarm could not call for help as he approached the building. The delays were reported with Cambridge Fire Chief Gerald Reardon concluding, "In both incidents, the delays didn't cause any major problems for officers, but the potential is there." Chief Reardon oversees the city's entire public safety radio system, "If equipment needs to be repaired or upgraded, we have no problem doing that. This is beyond our control. It's a worry."
Ernest Mitchell, president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, was reported to be even more pessimistic stating, "Thankfully, no one has died...But it's only a matter of time." Mitchell is the fire chief in pasadena, California. Radios used by police and firefighters, as well as other first responders broadcast on the same 800 megahertz broadcast system as cell phones. An example used was, "If a radio dispatch is made at 850 MHz near a cell tower broadcasting at 851 MHz, the radio signal can get drowned out. Further confirmed was the fact, "It's unclear how many municipalities are affected, but the problem is serious enough that police and firefighters have been urging the government to come up with a fix.
Nextel Communications has frequencies that are interspersed among those belonging to public safety, with their phones causing the most interference. Nextel was assigned the frequencies by the Federal Communications Commission before the massive cell phone boom, when it was thought that the 800 MHz spectrum could handle both public and private cell phone needs. Solutions were made for the Nextel to divide the 800 MHz band, giving one section to public safety agencies and another to cell phone companies. The FCC studied the problem and gave voice for the Nextel plan.
DUI ATTORNEYS WEIGH IN
Seveal DUI attorneys ( www.1800duilaws.com posts an RF Interference article), still voice concern and legal right, stating that readouts for alcohol intoxication levels have been known to be affected by Radio Frequency Interference. Legal issues are not out of the question, as the recent Toyota car accidents that have been plagued with problems (claimed by Toyota to be caused by faulty floor mats), are now being investigated for electronic problems with excelleration caused by, you quessed it, "Radio Frenquency Interference." The Toyota car accident prolems are also posted on the Jane Celltower website page: EMF INTERFERENCE - TOYOTA CAR ACCIDENTS .
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