Emergency radio system set to spice up

The West Central Joint Emergency Telephone System Board met this week to consider hiring a consultant for an emergency equipment upgrade project in Morgan, Greene and Calhoun counties.

Emergency radio systems operated by the agency in these districts are subject to a needs assessment based on the improvement in reliability for all emergency services provided by the agency, including police and fire services.

The focus of the upgrades will be on the Morgan County’s system as it is more than 20 years old, said Phil McCarty, emergency management director and director of Morgan County’s ETSB. By comparison, Greene County’s system is less than 5 years old.

Once the need is identified, the Board will seek suggestions from vendors.

During the meeting, the board interviewed consultants, including representatives from Mission Critical Partners and Mazzitello Professional Services, so that the project to improve shipping reliability can move forward, McCarty said, adding that it was a long-term and expensive project, the board said to ensure that it is handled correctly.

The hope is that a counselor will guide them through the process, he said.

Morgan County’s main radio frequency, on which fire and shipping communicate, was installed in early 2000.

“We’re starting a process to update this,” said McCarty.

The current system is experiencing significant interference on the south side of Calhoun County where the system is being shut down due to digital interference from radio equipment in the St. Louis area.

“We have estimated $ 300,000 for this year’s operating budget,” said McCarty. “It’s many square miles, but we want to make the right decision.”

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