In 2007, the International Association of Fire Chiefs formed a working group composed of fire-service personnel, other public-safety representatives, wireless-radio manufacturers, manufacturers of fire apparatus and equipment and consultants to address potential problems found in digital radios in the presence of loud background noise. The IAFC has been working in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Commerce to develop reliable data to address the extent and nature of the problem.  – IAFC (source)

Reports and Recommendations:

PDF IconDigital Portable Radio Best Practices – IAFC
Best practices guide published by the International Association of Fire Chiefs on how to minimize or eliminate background noise problems while using digitial radios.

Digital Problem Working Group, Interim Report – IAFC
Interim report, issued in May 2008 by the International Association of Fire Chief’s Digital Problem Working Group.

PDF IconBackground Noise and Radio Performance – Motorola
Best practices help firefighters and other first responders maximize the intelligibility of two-way radio communications in high-noise environments.

In Butler County:

  • All BRICS radios have been programmed with the Motorola recommended settings for maximizing intelligibility in high-noise environments.
  • BRICS has encouraged all fire departments to review the IAFC report on best practices and implement them in local training programs.
  • We will continue to monitor this issue as new findings and recommendations are issued.

For more information, visit the IAFC website at