Sunday, September 9, 2012
Franklin County emergency responders said this week they’ve been
experiencing issues with sending and receiving emergency radio
communications following the county’s switch to narrowband radio
frequencies earlier this summer.
Jim Casey, Boles Fire chief, and
Chris Miller, New Haven Ambulance chief, both said they, or their
personnel, have been having issues hearing and being heard with portable
and mobile radios when responding to calls.
Members of the county’s Emergency Management Communications Board
floated the idea of creating a trouble ticket system so that, when
issues arise, they can be logged and hopefully fixed.
something you have to constantly be on top of and constantly talk
about,” said Vince Zagarri, interim Franklin County 911 director.
this summer Zagarri discussed the narrowbanding, noting that the
technology is known for causing a decrease in volume compared to the
frequency ranges used by police, fire and ambulance personnel in the
The Federal Communications Commission has mandated a switch to narrowband channels by 2013.
In an effort to improve radio coverage, the county has been reviewing its radio tower lease sites for months.
Zagarri told the ECMB this week that there may soon be a new lease for tower equipment in the Sullivan area.
lot of these leases are just done on good old boy deals, done on
handshakes,” Zagarri said. “We’re just trying to make it all fair to
That lease would only be for equipment for the county sheriff’s department, however.
Zagarri said the county isn’t able to negotiate leases for other entities.
current Sullivan tower site, located on the Sullivan Fire Department
building, has radio equipment for the county’s law enforcement as well
as Sullivan Fire and Missouri Baptist Ambulance.
Mark Vincent said while the county can’t negotiate a lease for another
entity, it could arrange its contract to allow for subleasing of tower
space for those other emergency response groups.
county pays for tower leases around the county, including for fire and
ambulance districts served by the county’s 911 dispatching center, or
public safety answering point, in Union.
“Everything is funded by 911 now — the radios, the towers, the leases,” Miller said.
said if a tower site is being paid for out of 911 funds, as opposed to
simply being paid for by the county sheriff’s office, the site needs to
be accessible to all of the agencies using the county’s PSAP.