Newly kitted with Icom's IC-F3263DT digital handheld radios, the West Melton Rural Fire Force answered a call out on the 23rd October 2014. A fire had started at a rubbish pit and had quickly spread across the road to pay a visit to the Burnham Military Camp.
The West Melton Rural Fire Force had been provided with new radios by Icom’s largest dealer Signals NZ Ltd, a few weeks prior to the fire. During training sessions with the IC-F3263DTs, it was stressed upon the team how important these Icom radios were and to not under any circumstances lose them. As luck would have it, during their first call out with the new Icom radios, one got lost in the army grounds’ quarry pit in the grassy terrain while the fire was being put out. In the wake of the fire, firefighters and army personnel searched amongst the rubble and burnt, muddy grounds of the quarry for the missing Icom radio but came up empty handed. It seemed that the radio had been claimed by the fire and thick, tall grass of the quarry. By chance, the radio was found by one of the army personnel a few days later and handed back to the Fire Force in a state thought to be beyond repair.
The IC-F3263DT looked like it had been in the centre of the blaze and, going by the tread marks on the back of it, had been run over several times by a digger that was operating in the quarry. The speaker grill had been melted and distorted along with the main body of the radio. The buttons were still working although a few would stick and required a hard push to make it work. Aside from the screen having a few bubbles and being tarnished and browned by the heat, it was still readable.
The radio was taken back Icom’s Principle dealer, Signals NZ, to have the radio stunned/killed, which required the battery to be replaced. They were surprised to find that the radio was still able to fire up and when the antenna was replaced, the radio was able to transmit perfectly despite its fiery adventure. When receiving, the audio was a bit distorted due to the melted plastic that was blocking the speaker but other than that minor detail, the radio was in good working order. Selwyn District Council’s Emergency Management Officer Ryan O’Rourke said “we couldn’t believe it still worked! We’re really impressed with the Icom radio. It has exceeded all expectations of Icom's performance and reliability.”
The IC-F3263DT is Icom’s toughest full-featured digital handheld radio with military standard 810 G rugged construction and IP67 waterproof rating. Features of this hot radio include built-in GPS receiver, man down function, 800mW audio output power, IDAS NXDN features and 512 memory channels with 128 zones. It was because of these features along with Icom’s unique 5 year warranty on all their land mobile radios that made the IC-F3263DT the perfect choice for the West Melton Rural Fire Force. Ryan O’Rourke said "we chose Icom’s IC-F3263DT because of its reputation for being rugged and waterproof. We didn’t realise they were fire proof as well!"