The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes to our society and the way we do our jobs, forcing us to implement countermeasures to protect our fellow citizens. At the front of our efforts to stop the spread, we’ve had to make a variety of changes in our day-to-day lives including maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, and regularly washing our hands and surfaces.

In this article, we’ll provide several tips for radio communicators to adapt to these changes without hampering their ability to communicate with one another and effectively carry out their jobs.

Communicating Through Your Mask

It’s no secret that wearing a mask can muffle your voice and limit your communication ability, which might hurt your ability to transmit information to your colleagues over the radio.

These 3 tips can help you communicate clearly while using your radio in the age of Covid-19.

Tip 1: Speak with a Strong Voice

The most obvious way to overcome voice suppression when wearing a mask is to compensate and speak louder, which can be accomplished from breathing right. Proper breathing means breathing from the diaphragm or inhaling while your stomach rises and exhaling while your stomach falls.

This will allow you to speak from the diaphragm, resulting in greater voice projection that your radio is more likely to pick up on. Another way to strengthen your voice is to maintain good posture, which maximizes resonance.

Tip 2: Talk Slowly

Because a face mask muffles your words, you’ll want to put more effort into pronunciation than normal so your colleagues can understand you. Make sure to leave more space between words, speak in abbreviated phrases, and make frequent pauses. You should also focus on enunciation or exaggerating your words so that your message is understood with more clarity.

Tip 3: Radio Accessory Placement

To get clear communication through your radio, you’ll want your microphones placed correctly so that your entire message is picked up in full.

For surveillance earpieces, you should clip the microphone on a jacket lapel or collar right underneath your mask. This will pick up the most noise when you speak and is also very secure, meaning you won’t need to frequently adjust the mic and risk contamination.

If you’re wearing a headset equipped with a boom mic, you’ll want to position your microphone as close to the mouth as possible to ensure the highest voice quality. Be sure not to position it too close, however, as there can be a lot of interference noise if it rubs up against your mask.

Proper Cleaning Procedures for Your Radio & Accessories

One of the most important things in combating the spread of COVID-19 is proper sanitization for your devices. Because we frequently touch surfaces with our hands during the day, our radios/accessories can become a hotspot for germs and dirt. Recently, Motorola released general cleaning and disinfecting guidelines for radios and radio accessories:

For general cleaning, you should apply a water solution with 0.5% detergent using a cloth, then a bristled, non-metallic brush to work dirt out from small holes and cracks. Finally, dry the device with an absorbent cloth or tissue. Make sure not to leave any solution trapped near connectors or cracks in the device.

To disinfect your radio or radio earpiece, you’ll want to use rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) with at least 70% concentration. When cleaning, make sure to not apply the alcohol directly to the device, but rather using a cloth to wipe down the surface. Do not use bleach or other cleaning sprays to disinfect, as you could damage your device’s internal electronics.

Radios Transforming Business Communication in the Age of Covid-19

Two-way radios are known to be used in industries such as law enforcement and airports, however, other unlikely businesses are turning to radio communications to maintain social distancing and keep their doors open. For example, two-way radios are being used by restaurants to make their curbside delivery services more efficient and allow their employees to effectively communicate at a distance.

On a larger scale, hospitals are utilizing two-way radios to operate with stricter health guidelines and a larger influx of COVID patients, offering the following benefits:

  • Better management of equipment delivery such as masks and ventilators.
  • Faster allocation of resources to critical areas of the hospital.
  • Management can communicate with the staff across all hospital floors to notify nurses and doctors of any emergencies.
  • Reduction of patient waiting time.
  • Enhancement of patient care.

COVID-19 has transformed our daily lives, forcing us to be more careful in carrying out day-to-day tasks and how we interact with each other. It has made communication more challenging through masks and social distancing, however, we are adopting more effective techniques to transmit information to one another and ensure that we keep our critical industries up and running.

In limiting the spread of the virus, we must take more vigorous sanitation measures to ensure our devices are consistently clean. This protects us from the many surfaces we touch every day and limits the germs that we might spread in the process.

In other areas, however, two-way radios are becoming a great asset to businesses that would otherwise struggle to keep social distancing and effective operations. Restaurants, bars, and hospitals are turning to radio communications as a way for employees to have meaningful communications without compromising their workers’ health.

Whether you’re a regular two-way operator or a small business looking for a new communication method to assist you in maintaining operational capacity, you can benefit from these tips and applications to mitigate the spread of the virus, safeguard your health, and keep your business moving forward.

Nick Hohman is the President of First Source Wireless. Nick has used his knowledge of tactical headsets to improve communication in the military and public safety. He has attended several communications conferences including the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO), and International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE).

Covid-19Two-way radio

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