Guilford Fire Department Headquarters

In-Building Cellular Solution (35,000 sq. ft.)

Jay Leatherman, Systems Administrator of Guilford Fire Dept. in Guilford, CT, wanted to replace the cellular booster for the firehouse because it wasn’t working as advertised and they had outgrown the dedicated Sprint/Nextel version they had in place. They needed a new booster that supported voice and data for all major carriers. The department’s fire chief, Chief Herrschaft, received an email from their communications equipment provider, featuring SureCall’s Force5, passed it on to Jay and now Guilford Fire Dept. has their total cell reception solution.

The Dilemma

Replace a limited system with a 3G voice and 4G data solution supporting all carriers and multiple, simultaneous users, including use as an Emergency Operations Center, or EOC.

The Solution: SureCall Force5

• 3G and 4G voice and data cellular reception in 35,000 sq ft fire station
• Cost-effective cellular amplifier and accessories solutions

The Challenge

It was during Superstorm Sandy as Guilford Fire Department Headquarters in Guilford, CT, was serving as the Emergency Operations Center for the fire, police and public works departments that Jay Leatherman, Systems Administrator for the department, made a mental note. He noted, that after the storm, the department’s headquarters needed to get a better cell reception solution in place. With three first responder departments crammed in one building, all with different cell carriers and different voice and 4G data needs, he realized he needed an all-in-one cell reception solution.

Fire stations are normally built with brick or concrete blocks so cell reception can be difficult, even without the disturbance a storm can cause. Originally, Guilford Fire Dept. had a cellular amplifier system to support Sprint, the department’s main carrier for their direct connect system. When Sprint bought Nextel, it disrupted their reception because Sprint began phasing out the Nextel direct connect service. Jay also commented that the whole system was “overkill” for what they were receiving. Jay and Chief Herrschaft knew, however, that they needed a new system that provided 3G voice and 4G data, again, all in one.

Jay said that one day he got an email from Chief Herrschaft. The email passed to him was from the department’s source for radio and telecommunication equipment. The email provided information on SureCall’s Force5 cellular amplifier. Featuring 80,000 square ft. in increased cell reception and the ability to support 100+ simultaneous users for 3G voice and 4G service among AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, he and the Chief agreed that they’d found a possible solution.

Jay researched the Force5 and confirmed with the Chief that the cellular amplifier met their present and future requirements. The day the fiscal year’s budget was approved, Jay received an email from the Chief to see if he had ordered the amplifier because Chief Herrschaft did not want the town’s emergency operations center to be without a cellular enhancement system in case of another major storm.

When asked about system installation, Jay was happy to report how easy it was for him and the firefighters at Local 4177 to install. The amplifier and accessories supplied a “cookie cutter” solution they didn’t find anywhere else. Leatherman also commented that he used a SureCall signal meter to measure outside and indoor cell signal to transmit the best cell reception possible. Guilford Fire Department Headquarters are now ready for almost anything.

The Result

• Increased cellular reception for 35,000 square feet fire station
• Transformed firehouse to regional emergency operations center utilizing multicarrier support
• Cost-effective cell solution for budget conscious local public agency


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