By Jack Justice, Church Security Alliance
The need for clear, concise communication is everywhere we go today. From making sure that instructions or intent is understood on a business or personal issue, to the person involved in a life or death situation, understanding what is being said and the meaning of the conversation is critical to how we deal with any situation in our lives. This is also true in our communications as a church security team. One of the first items discussed when putting a security or safety team in place is how do we communicate? Do we use cell phones, texting or radios. The average cell phone may continue to work with wear and tear for 2-3 years. Commercial two way radios are built and tested to withstand heat, water, weather, and falls for over 15+ years! A church looking to invest in critical communications will find a wise investment in a product that will work every time for years to come. For most of us, the use of radio communication has become paramount in completing our duty in creating a safe environment for our church family.
Two way radios are quick to respond
Two way radio has the communications speed and ease of use that an important job needs. Radios are run off of frequencies that are specific to the user, meaning no other radios are using your line of communication when you are using them.
Most teams start out with “bubble pack” FRS radios. The quality of transmission is very dependent on the quality of the radio, the distance, and the overall traffic in the area. Additionally, FRS radios are limited to 500 milliwatts of power. My team started out with FRS radios and though we used them for several years, the quality of conversation was typically very poor. Often, the need to repeat a transmission has been very frustrating, with the person on the other end frequently requesting that the comment be repeated several times. Due to these issues, I went on a quest to find a better solution. There are now high quality, commercial radios for very reasonable prices.
Finding the proper solution
Having an understanding of the Two way radio industry, it is not hard to see why police officers, fire fighters, and paramedics use Two way radios. They are quick to connect, able to talk to multiple units at once, and durable in tough conditions. Unlike Cell phones, Two way radios are not used for games but for a critical purpose that it delivers for every time.
After talking to many suppliers, we determined we need a commercial grade radio with business band channels. The options were General Mobile Radio Service, MURS or assigned business band channels. The deciding factor for us was that the MURs channels can be powered to 2 watts and does not require a FCC license for the 5 channels assigned to it. We also had the ability to add filtering to eliminate hearing radio calls by another group in the area that might be on the same frequency.
Purchase a quality radio
You don’t want to purchase just any 2-way radio; cheap consumer grade models that are sold at the local corner store are not going to provide nearly the same reliability as a professional model. The advanced features that many 2-way radios come equipped with could make the difference between having a working
After trying models from several manufactures, we have found a radio the meets all of our key needs including:
Clarity of communication
The radio that best fit our church’s needs, and that of many churches has become the unit we selected to provide by Church Security Alliance, the OBLTR-8R. The radio is a commercial unit that can operate on amateur radio channels (with license), MURS and GMRS (with license) frequencies. They come preprogrammed for all five channels and have the filtering installed to minimize outside interference with other local users. The radio has four times the power rating of the FRS radios commonly used and do not require the hassle of getting a FCC license.
Two-Way radios are a tool for productivity and sustainability. Radio communication is simple and built to do one thing very well, communicate! Radios work on specific frequencies that continue to work even when emergencies happen and cellphone towers are down or are overloaded with calls. Two-Way radio has the ability to communicate to multiple people at one time instantly, something cellphones cannot do.
Jack Justice is the cofounder of Church Security Alliance