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Why you need a handheld radio designed to the latest fire standards

The new XL Extreme 400P from L3Harris is much more than P25-compliant


Sponsored by L3Harris

By Robert Avsec for FireRescue1 BrandFocus

Ask most firefighters and fire officers to name one piece of equipment that they have a love/hate relationship with, and you can bet that most are going to say, “the @$&!ing portable radio!”

The new XL Extreme 400P handheld radio from L3Harris is designed to comply with P25 requirements and the latest fire standards for voice communications devices.
The new XL Extreme 400P handheld radio from L3Harris is designed to comply with P25 requirements and the latest fire standards for voice communications devices. (L3Harris)

They love it when it does its job and they don’t have to think about it. And they hate it when it doesn’t – those times that cause a firefighter or fire officer to curse “this worthless brick!”

Some of the most common complaints would likely be:

  1. I can’t operate the controls with my gloves on.
  2. I have a tough time ensuring I’m on the correct channel
  3. It’s hard to see the control display in low-visibility environments

L3Harris Technologies, a leading manufacturer of portable radios, has expanded its family of XL Project 25 (P25) handheld radios by introducing its new XL Extreme 400P, designed to comply with the latest fire standards on two-way, portable voice communications devices for use by emergency services personnel in the hazard zone.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR PORTABLE FIRE RADIO

Communications technology has advanced significantly in the past decade. Let’s talk a bit about some of the features you should expect in new fire radios:

  • Should be “glove friendly” to ensure ease of operation by a firefighter in full PPE. (This addresses firefighter complaint No. 1 above.)
  • Should have large Emergency Activation Button (EAB) for use with gloved hands.
  • Should remain operational after enduring a 10-foot (3-meter) drop onto a concrete surface.
  • Should remain operational following exposure to extreme heat (500-degree F) and immersion in 6.5 feet (2 meters) of water.
  • Should remain operational through tumbling tests (for drops and rough handling) and crush tests.

The above features show that the radio and remote speaker microphone can continue to operate when exposed to harsh environments. You also need a radio that can support firefighter safety in a hazard zone with features that include, but are not limited to:

  • Loud audio by default for use in loud environments.
  • Confirmed power off feature to prevent accidental power down.
  • Multiple voice announcements to indicate the unit is powering off, over temperature, low or dead battery, or a failed RSM has been attached.
  • Temperature detection that alerts the user that they are operating the radio and RSM outside of their safe temperature range
  • Data logging capability so the radio functions as a “black box,” like the flight data recorders carried aboard commercial aircraft, for after-action reports to aid in proactively increasing user safety.
  • Support Bluetooth-capable accessories, such as an SCBA mask.
XL Extreme 400P radios are made of heat-resistant thermal materials and provide loud, high-quality audio and “glove friendly” operation for use in harsh environments.
XL Extreme 400P radios are made of heat-resistant thermal materials and provide loud, high-quality audio and “glove friendly” operation for use in harsh environments. (L3Harris)

THE XL EXTREME 400P CAN TAKE THE HEAT

L3Harris Technologies has engineered the new XL Extreme 400P to deliver these features and more. For starters, the XL Extreme 400P is constructed using heat-resistant thermal materials and a reinforced seal design that can withstand the rigors of the environment firefighters encounter during interior structural firefighting operations. That construction enables the XL Extreme 400 to meet the operational requirements of the latest fire standards for handheld radio usage in harsh environments.

The XL Extreme 400’s unique Visual Zone Detection Indication feature provides you with quick visual confirmation that all users are on the same radio group or channel. (This addresses firefighter complaint No. 2 above). It also delivers loud clear audio with noise cancellation for added clarity.

The XL Extreme 400 has LTE operations capability, giving you the ability to transmit and receive voice or data over FirstNet, AT&T or Verizon networks It also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS capabilities built right in, and the dual SIM design allows multiple carries on the same device.

Interoperability is another critical feature, and the XL Extreme 400P has it. During multi-agency responses, this multi-band portable radio provides superior interoperability and secure voice and data transmission. You can be assured that your communications are safe and secure because the XL Extreme 400 uses the latest generation of end-to-end voice and data encryption.

In the extreme conditions, firefighters need a radio that can take the heat. With the XL Extreme 400P, L3Harris now offers a solution as tough as you are. Designed by firefighters for firefighters, the XL Extreme 400P is a P25-compliant radio that can withstand extreme heat and keep you connected so your crew can operate more safely, effectively and efficiently on any emergency scene, under any conditions.

So, what portable radio do you want to carry?

For more information, visit L3Harris.

Read Next: How to get funds for needed communication equipment purchases through the American Rescue Plan

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