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In any emergency situation clear and open communication, along with the ability to track movements of employees is essential.

When things are moving quickly in a crisis situation, and lives are potentially at stake, a communication failure, or losing track who is in what area can lead to severe confusion amongst services – and potentially lead to injury or loss of life.

Similarly, for individual employees working in remote areas, being able to be easily found is vital to increase the chances of help getting to them quickly. Simply put, knowing where someone is can be just as important as know how that person is.

The use of mobile GPS tracking via personal mobile devices has become a part of everyday life – everyone has Google Maps or some other location app on their phone.

While these apps are fine for everyday use, when GPS is being used to find a way around a city or to the nearest food shop, in emergency situations when multiple devices are in use, lots of people need to be contactable in a second and environments are potentially hazardous – consumer phones just don’t stack up.

Historically, while the use of two-way radios has been fine for communication, enabling GPS tracking on these devices has been tricky, unreliable and expensive.

However, new technology within digital radios has greatly improved the reliability of radio positioning, resulting in the ability to track and locate people in an instant.

Robust and reliable

One of the key reasons that mobile phones are not reliable in emergency situations is that the signal they rely on is not dependable during these peak usage times (emergency situations can often involve hundreds of people). Furthermore, the devices themselves are not robust enough to survive the extreme environments they are needed in.

Digital two-way radios are built, and stress tested, specifically to be used within extreme situations and conditions. In addition, the signals they use do not rely on public networks and therefore are far more reliable than those needed for mobile phone communication.

Consider the use of a mobile phone during an extreme crisis like a fire, with high temperatures, high levels of smoke and multiple teams working in the immediate area.

Mobile phones only allow single point-to-point communication; digital two-way radios allow a single person to communicate with multiple people at once, which is vital in emergency situations.

Mobile phones are not built to withstand extreme temperatures and could become inoperable when exposed to this kind of environment. Digital two-way radios on the other hand are designed specifically to withstand these conditions.

This is an example of an extreme situation, but crisis situations are often challenging, and communication networks and devices need to be able to withstand any of these scenarios.

Early warning systems

As well as their ability to improve communication during an emergency, digital two-way radios also have the capability to help employees avoid dangerous situations in the first place.

For instance, adding Bluetooth capability to these devices means that positioning tools such as beacons can also be used internally – like busy warehouses for example. This means that hazardous locations can be defined on a map and the radio will automatically trigger Lone Worker protocols – which provide protection to workers when they are in dangerous areas.

Additionally, you can “Geofence” areas which alert a controller when an employee enters the predefined location. If we’re talking about an area when an employee might be moving from somewhere relatively quiet to quickly entering somewhere with lots of moving machinery or vehicles on the floor, this kind of automatic employee protection system is vital to ensuring employee safety.

This feature is particularly beneficial for new employees who may not be entirely sure about the layout of a warehouse floor.

In the past these employees would have had to shadow senior members of staff for a period before they could be trusted not to enter an area they shouldn’t be in.

Digital two-way radios with location tracking enabled, now removes this need, allowing senior staff to get on with their own jobs while ensuring new employees can be allowed to get on with work on the floor without “guessing” whether or not they should be in the area they are in.


Digital two-way radios, despite the rise of mobile phones, remain the only reliable device to be used during emergency situations, bringing with them reliable lines of communication, coupled with robust devices which can survive harsh or extreme environments – when they are most needed.

Being able to customise the functionality of these devices with dedicated and bespoke applications also allows businesses to create their own communication networks, tailored specifically to their own needs – something which cannot be done with mobile phones.

In a crisis, communication and location tracking are essential for ensuring workers can help and, more importantly, not make situations worse.

The use of digital two-way radios with location tracking guarantees effective communication when it is most needed.