Radio Communications – Letterkenny University Hospital, Donegal. 9th October 2021

11 October 2021

On Saturday evening 9th October, Donegal Civil Defence Officer, Edel Flynn received a call from the HSE Regional Chief Emergency Management Officer informing her that Letterkenny University Hospital had experienced a shut down on its internal phone system and as a backup, requested assistance from Civil Defence to set up a radio system within the hospital as a temporary means of communication. A communications plan was immediately put in place for the hospital by the Civil Defence Officer, County Commander and radio instructor.

Taking into consideration that Donegal was under a yellow rainfall weather warning for the weekend period and Civil Defence were on standby, as a result, TETRA radios were not available. Considering the size of the building, it was decided to set up a control point on the third floor to operate a relay system, with the use of 10 UHF radios. Brief onsite training in the use of the radios, including the sending and receiving of messages, changing of channels etc was given to hospital staff on Saturday night by the radio instructor.

The HSE acknowledged the swift response of Civil Defence and their ability to provide the response required, which demonstrated the great example of interagency collaboration and support. They also acknowledged the support of the Civil Defence Communications Officer, Civil Defence Branch for his approval for the use of the radios until the situation is resolved. The situation remains unresolved and the Civil Defence communications plan remains in place.