Final program spherical deliberate for emergency radio system | information
A final round of programming is scheduled one year after the new nationwide emergency radio communications system is in use, and district officials have a clearer idea of the ongoing costs of maintaining the system every year.
The project involved migrating the radios, used primarily by law enforcement, fire and rescue personnel, emergency management and Henry County Hospital officials, from the previous Very High Frequency (VHF) system to the Lucas County digital trunk system used in Operation is at 700-800 megahertz. The change was recommended because the county was experiencing problems with its tight bandwidth, as the loss of bandwidth had resulted in an increasing number of dropped calls for emergency personnel.
Nick Nye, assistant director of the Henry County Emergency Management Agency, said there was one more round of programming left this summer to resolve issues encountered with the use of the radios over the past year.
“It has worked really well so far,” said Nye. “We had to have this year of testing to get into the system, use it regularly and keep track of what we find, what we like, there is something we need to fix.
“After that, the project will be finalized from the district’s point of view,” he continued, but added that the system needs to be updated on an ongoing basis. “You have to stay modern, it’s like any other technology.”
Nye said he felt the move addressed many of the county’s reporting problems.
“You will always have some places that are hit or miss,” he explained. “You will never be 100%.
“Where we have no service (now) is nowhere near the problem we had with VHF,” he added. “Do I think we’ve improved from our location? Absolutely.”
While there were upfront costs for setting up the entire system for the first time, these were paid for by the district commissioners with the help of some grant funds. Lucas County does not charge Henry County for using the system. However, there are always costs, e.g. For example, a monthly fiber link from the Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) location on State Route 281 near State Route 109 to Lucas County Communications in Toledo. License and emergency power generator, an annual fiber optic link from Ayersville to Rte. 281 Tower and electricity, as well as proposed maintenance contracts for the air conditioning and an emergency power supply.
“We had initial numbers for the ballpark when we went into the radio project, but now we had fixed numbers with monthly fees … we have a much better idea of what the commissioners would pay for recurring costs,” explained Nye, who said himself recently met with the Henry County Commissioners to verify these numbers. “The plan was to relay this to the entities that are in the system.
“The first year on the system should be the test and there would be no charge minus the radio buyback,” he added. “We wanted to be fair across the board … not everyone has the same number of radios, so you can’t say we’re going to divide it by the number of units. So we measured it by the number of radios Henry County has in the system. “
These ongoing charges are $ 19,713.21 per year. With 466 radios in the system in the county, the cost per radio is $ 42.30 per radio per year or $ 3.52 per radio per month. Nye said the cost per radio was slightly higher than originally assumed, but the increase was due to the fact that the maintenance contracts for the AC device and battery support were not included in the Motorola contract as originally thought and were separate costs.
While the county ultimately chose to join the Lucas County Trunk System, it also took into account the statewide MARCS system. However, cost was also a factor, as was its proximity to Lucas County.
“MARCS is a nationwide system, they have tower locations all over the state, and there is a lot more overhead for them,” explained Nye. “It’s not that much with Toledo and Lucas (county).”
Nye stated that the MARCS radio has a usage fee of $ 25 per month per radio, but a recent house bill subsidizes this so the current cost is $ 10 per radio per month. However, this subsidy expires at the end of June. There is a grant from the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office to cover the $ 10 fee for fire and fire-assisted rescue services only, but it ends on December 31, 2022. If the county had 466 radios in the MARCS system and had to pay the full user fee of $ 25 per radio, that cost would be $ 139,800 per year.
For example, the Monroe Township Fire Department has 25 radios and a monthly fee of $ 88.13 for their radios for the Lucas County system, compared to $ 625 per month if they were in the MARCS system for $ 25 per radio or $ 250 per Month with the subsidized radio would be price of $ 10 per radio.
“The commissioners wanted us to do our due diligence and make sure we get the best bang for our buck in order to get a good system but be fiscally responsible,” said Nye.
The radios themselves were bought in bulk by the county for promotional awards, and then each company could decide how to repay the county for its stake in the radios, with commissioners offering 0% interest for a maximum of 10 years. Nye said the first collections were made last year, with some departments choosing to pay their full balance and most choosing to make annual payments.