Why our MTP8000Ex TETRA Series is much more than just another ATEX radio.
Fire and Rescue teams have long relied on two-way radios to provide effective communications and save lives. But when firefighters respond to an incident in a hazardous environment such as a traffic accident involving a petrol tanker or an accident at a petrochemical plant, they need ATEX radios to communicate safely and prevent an incident from becoming an emergency.
So what exactly is a hazardous environment?” What is an ATEX radio? And why would I need one? Well, hazardous places are classified in terms of zones on the basis of the frequency and duration of the occurrence of an explosive atmosphere. (You can learn more about the ATEX and the zones here: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2000:023:0057:0064:en:PDF ) Given the nature of a firefighters work, they could well be working in the vicinity of explosive dust, gas or liquid - so it’s important that their radio doesn’t contribute to igniting it. ATEX radios are radios that have been designed to be intrinsically safe in such environments and are classified as to which ATEX zones they are safe to work in.
So how did we build an ATEX radio for a firefighter? We started off by listening to the challenges and frustrations they face every day and asking what firefighters needed from an ATEX radio. We then designed an ATEX radio that addressed these issues, all with the aim of increasing their efficiency and improving their safety in hazardous environments whilst at the same time making the radios easier to use than ever before.
EASY TO USE
Firefighters need a radio that is easy to use during an incident and when wearing protective clothing and heavy gloves. The MTP8000Ex series radios have a “T-bar” grip that makes the radio harder to drop and easier to hold, even for long periods. The exaggerated control knob to select volume and talkgroup, textured PTT button and tactile keypad make it easier to use.
We added a display panel at the top of the radio to make it easier for firefighters to see key information such as status alerts emergency notifications, volume, battery level and talk group. The firefighter can glance at the top of the radio to see key information rather unclipping it from their belt or chest.
For simplicity, the interface makes use of icons and the menus can be configured to only show the options needed for particular groups of users.
LOUD AND CLEAR AUDIO
They need a radio that can be heard in the heat and noise of a fire, against the loud background noise of fire engines, or industrial machinery. We gave our radio 1.2 watts of audio power and howling suppression technology so that the firefighters can hear and be heard when it matters with loud and clear audio.
LONG BATTERY LIFE
Radios need to last for a whole shift and the duration of an emergency - so we provide an extended battery life in excess of 16 hours, firefighters can be confident that their radios will be ready for a longer shift in the event of emergencies or unplanned situations.
The radios are going to be used in harsh conditions and need to be able to cope with tough and hazardous situations that the firefighters will face. The MTP8000Ex Series radios are rugged to comply with MIL-STD 810 D/E/F/G and have IP65, IP66 and IP67 ratings, so they will work in the cold and wet or the dust and heat.
KEEP IN CONTACT
It’s important for firefighters to be able to communicate and high receiver sensitivity and high transmit power gives the MTP8000Ex Series greater coverage and enhanced in-building performance. They also need to know how good their signal strength is, so that they can ensure they can communicate. Our innovative solution was to add a LED Coverage Indicator at the base of the antenna, which clearly shows the user when coverage is good, poor or marginal.
IDENTIFY YOUR OWN RADIO
Our customer research showed us that many users mark their radio in some way to distinguish it from others, often using a sticky label or a permanent marker to write a name or number on the radio. This can often compromise the ATEX certification and as a result put the safety of the users at risk. So we added a nameplate to the back of the MTP8000Ex radios so that firefighters can write their name or number on the tab behind a clear Perspex cover enabling the radios to be easily identified without compromising safety.
Firefighters also need a complete ATEX communications solution which means they need ATEX audio accessories such as the ATEX active noise cancelling remote speaker microphone or an integrated microphone and earpiece to enable them to focus on the incident while keeping them safe.
With over 20 years of experience providing intrinsically safe two-way radios, and by understanding the needs of the firefighter we were able to think smarter about the design of the radio.
Built to the latest ATEX and IECEx safety standards, the MTP8000Ex Series radios have been specifically designed for people who need to work in hazardous environments with potentially explosive gases or chemical vapours, flammable liquids or combustible dust. These radios provide firefighters with the ability to work safer, work smarter and work anywhere with powerful audio, enhanced coverage, extended battery life, greater ruggedness, advanced ergonomics and increased usability.
Through a series of simple and innovative design features we have made the MTP8000Ex Series much more than just another ATEX radio.
Mike is EMEA Solutions Marketing Manager at Motorola Solutions
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