Boise's NIFC sending radios to help stricken Colorado communicate

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Radios.

It's one of the things they do extremely well at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise.

And right now NIFC is sending dozens and dozens of handheld radios and their critical repeater-relay support systems to the flooded areas in Colorado where normal communications have collapsed.

"With cell coverage down and the landlines, and the fiber, radio is at least giving some communications for search and rescue teams looking for people," said Stephen Jenkins, with the National Interagency Incident Communications Division, part of NIFC.

The agency is also sending special radios to communicate with aircraft searching for people stranded by the disastrous flood.

NIFC has arguably the largest cache of civilian radios in the world. They stock some 11,000 hand-held radios.

But it's not just radios, it's people as well.

NIFC is mobilizing some 300 firefighters and support staff from around the country to assist law enforcement and emergency responders in Colorado. They'll perform services ranging from providing food and shows to helping clear flood debris.

"We have the qualifications for leadership and developing plans that can be used for whatever incident arises," said Robyn Broyles, NIFC public information officer.

And the help is sorely needed in Colorado, where some areas are seeing the worst flooding in a hundred years.