The California Technology Agency’s Public Safety Communications Office (PSCO) currently has 14 staff deployed to the following 5 fires located throughout California:
The Mill Fire in Butte County, Northwest of Butte Meadows
The Buck Fire, in Riverside County
The Chihuahua Fire in San Diego County (these staff have been on duty since August 10th)
The Wye Fire in Lake County east of Clearlake Oats
The CHIPS Fire in Plumas County
These PSCO Telecommunications Technician’s enable all personnel from different entities working on each particular fire to communicate directly with each other. These Technicians serve a critical role in these emergency situations. Their duties when deployed to a fire consist of programming, repair and deployment of all types of communications equipment such as mobiles and portable radios, radio consoles, RAWS (weather stations), National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) cache radio equipment as well as installation of radio communications repeaters. Installation of the radio communications repeaters around the fire line provide the backbone for the incident radio system; technicians are transported to mountaintops in four wheel drive vehicles and/or helicopters to install these repeaters.
Once the Incident Command Center is established, the PSCO Telecommunications Technician reports directly to the Communications Unit Leader. The technician then begins the coordination and programming of various different fire services radios based on the communications plan developed for the incident. This way all fire services personnel and first responders can communicate on the same radio frequency.
PSCO Telecommunications Technicians will stay on these fires 24 hours a day until they are demobilized.