WHEELING – Volunteer fire departments in Ohio County will be among emergency responders and groups receiving new radios following an act by county commissioners this week.
Commissioners unanimously agreed to purchase the communication radios during a teleconference meeting Tuesday night. The radio upgrade project comes in at a total cost of $805,344, with the county’s cost being $510,384, according to County Administrator Greg Stewart.
The purchase was organized by county officials, with other government organizations participating and sharing the cost. All of the participating entities will be able to communicate with each other on the same radio system.
“In some cases, the radios they have work, but operators wouldn’t have access to all the bells and whistles that come with the new software system we are currently operating,” Stewart said.
Among those buying and receiving radios are the city of Wheeling, the Ohio County Board of Education, the Marshall County Commission and the Ohio Valley Regional Transportation Authority, he said. These groups will reimburse Ohio County a collective $274,326 for the purchase, according to Stewart.
A total of 165 radios were ordered, with the county retaining 110 devices.
Each volunteer fire department in Ohio County will receive 10 portable radios or walkie-talkies, as well as five mobile radios for use in vehicles, Stewart said. There are seven volunteer fire departments in the county, including Bethlehem, Stone Church, Valley Grove, Triadelphia, West Liberty, Mozart and Clearview.
The volunteer fire departments also have the option of purchasing additional devices through the county and paying for these with their funds.
Buying the Motorola radios in bulk resulted in a $56,000 discount on the purchase, according to Stewart.
County officials hope the new radios will be in operation and communicating with the County 911 center by mid-June.