COMMUNICATIONS have always been the biggest problem facing response groups when an emergency is called. Exercises dealing with coastal flooding pointed to this being the one of the outcomes to be dealt with.

LN4x4R use the mobile phone system to deploy its Responders, sending instructions by text messaging. Locally we have handheld radios to control small groups at incidents or on training days.

In the event of large scale flooding we have always expected the mobile phone system to fail due to power loss or cell loss. We have been working towards solving this problem and have now taken a large step forwards.

>With the assistance of Lottery Funding we sent some of our members to obtain their amateur radio Foundation Licence so that they have a basic understanding of radio systems. We then purchased a number of mobile radios to be fitted in their vehicles and at our Controllers locations. The system we opted for uses digital vhf radio and one repeater in Lincolnshire. Our testing of the system so far has given us almost complete coverage of the county, only the very far south and some other odd places have proved to be out of range and these should be improved when further repeaters are brought on line.

The result is that we now have communications coverage of all coastal flooding areas as well as most of the rest of the county including up in the Lincolnshire Wolds. We can keep in touch with our Responders and also provide communications for other response groups by placing vehicles at their location.

The future? We need to find more funding to train and equip more of our Responders.