Perrysburg fire depts. get grant PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER, Sentinel Staff Writer   
Friday, 11 July 2014 08:52
Emergency radios in northern Wood County will soon be loud and clear with the help of an $806,000 grant.
Fire departments in Perrysburg, both the city and township, are the primary beneficiaries of a Federal Emergency Management Agency award announced Wednesday by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
In addition to funding the purchase of digital radios which allow much more reliable communication during emergencies, the grant includes money for an antenna structure registry that will eliminate thousands of dollars in fees, explained city Fire Chief Jeff Klein.
The city and township departments will each buy 50 to 60 radios, which are digital instead of operating on an analog frequency. The switch will decrease radio transmission problems, as well as allow access to Lucas County’s radio system and better communication between regional departments.
Firefighters regularly have to repeat what they say via radio due to interference, said both Klein and Perrysburg Township Fire Chief Tom Brice.
“This should clear up the communications and basically make it like we’re talking on the phone with one another,” Brice said.
“There’s virtually no static on these radios,” Klein said.
Klein pointed to problems experienced when the department responded to a highway crash July 4.
“We never really realized how many times we were saying ‘repeat’ because we couldn’t understand what (others) were saying.”
The project was already planned as the industry shifts to digital frequencies, but doing it without the federal allocation would have cost each department about $250,000, Brice estimated.
“Without this grant, either we wouldn’t have been able to do it or we would’ve had to put more of a burden on the taxpayers,” Brice said.
The award also benefits Northwood, Rossford and Lake Township.
Klein said those agencies purchased similar radios after being awarded the same FEMA Assistance to Firefighters grant last year and must pay a monthly connection fee to operate on Lucas County’s system. But the antenna included in this year’s grant will eventually eliminate those payments.
The new system will require the five agencies to split about $17,000 per year in maintenance, but without the antenna device, the connection fees just for Perrysburg would be about $14,000, Klein said.
The radios could arrive by the end of the year, though the ASR may not be up and running until next spring.
“For all intents and purposes, this is going to revamp communications for fire and EMS in northern Wood County,” Brice said.
“We’re creating a platform that if five years down the road, somebody wants to migrate over to this system, it’ll give them an easy pathway,” said Klein.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 July 2014 10:25

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