Prescott, AZ – In Prescott, Ariz., where so many firefighters died in the deadly Yarnell Hill blaze last summer, the fire department is borrowing gadgets and tactics from the U.S. Special Forces to prevent that tragedy from happening again.
The fire that killed 19 firefighters proved so deadly in part because of poor communication, investigators said. So, in the year-plus since then, Prescott firefighters have been training on a sophisticated voice, data, and video-sharing system that Special Forces use when operating in difficult environments where radios might not work.
These Wave Relay mobile ad hoc network radios act as their own relay stations and are cabled to ruggedized, app-loaded tablets. Prescott Fire Battalion Chief Ralph Lucas III hopes the new gear will keep his men safe when battling raging wildfires in the future.