NPR

18 Years After Sept. 11, Critical Incidents Still Overload Emergency Radios

After the chaos of terrorist attacks, the U.S. spent billions to update first responder radio systems. But the newer gear can still be overwhelmed — as it was in the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

If you go back and listen to the recording of the Broward County radio dispatch system, you can hear the frustration the voices of police.

"I can't transmit for some reason," says one officer. Other first responders echo the complaint.

"Just so you know, we're having trouble transmitting," says another person, and more than once, you hear a general plea for users to limit their communications to "10-33 calls" — radio code for an emergency.

"All cities, all radios be advised to keep your traffic to a minimum. With each transmission, it's causing it to crash, it's overloaded right now, per Motorola."

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min read
New York Set To Join Michigan In Banning Some E-Cigarettes
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will issue an emergency regulation banning certain flavored products. The move comes amid advances toward a similar federal ban.
NPR3 min read
'Homesick' Is A Boundary-Expanding Story Of Devotion And Growing Up
Accomplished translator Jennifer Croft's first non-translated work is a hybrid, mixing photography and impressionistic autobiographical writing to tell the story of Croft's artistic coming of age.
NPR7 min read
A Fire Lookout On What's Lost In A Transition To Technology
The number of manned fire lookouts in the U.S. is dwindling, as technology is increasingly used to spot and monitor wildfires. But can technology replace a human watch?