Hearth brigades obtain a grant to improve the radio system information, sports activities, jobs

Five fire departments in Trumbull County have received grants to improve their communication efforts in responding to fires and other incidents.

The Multi-Agency Radio Communications Systems (MARCS) grant allows first responders to communicate not only with each other, but also with other agencies – including law enforcement – responding to an emergency.

The following departments have received grants to use MARCS radio equipment and upgrade the radio system:

• Eagle Joint Fire District (Hubbard / Hubbard Township), US $ 10,000

• Champion Township Fire Department, $ 8,453.50

• Burghill-Vernon Volunteer Fire Department, $ 10,000

• Orangeville Volunteer Fire Department, $ 10,000

• Weathersfield Township Fire Department, $ 10,000

Weathersfield Fire Chief Thomas Lambert said the $ 10,000 would enable his department to source four cell phones it needs for the vehicles in front.

“When we get these four cell phones, our department will be 100 percent MARCS,” said Lambert.

Lambert said his department had previously received grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for MARCS radios, but the award was limited.

Because of this, Weathersfield and other fire departments had to use older Ohio Department of Natural Resources radios until they could get the new MARCS radios.

The new MARCS radios are priced at $ 2,400 each.

Lambert said the department’s older VHF radio system will remain as a backup in case it is needed.

Fire chief John Hickey, who led efforts to secure a $ 1.5 million FEMA grant for MARCS radios, said the new grant will help fill the void for departments that need additional radios need.

Hickey said the Champion, Burghill-Vernon and Weathersfield Fire Departments had grants for the radios but needed additional grants. He said the Orangeville Fire Department and the Eagle Joint Fire District were not part of the original FEMA grant.

“Each department had to apply for this grant individually. You can apply any year, ”said Hickey.

Hickey said Champion will now be 100 percent on MARCS radios.

Like Weathersfield, Champion used ODNR radios until the MARCS radios arrived, Hickey said. Champion needed three more wearable devices and two cell phones, he said.

In addition, there is a fee of $ 10 per radio per monthly user fee, which State Fire Marshal Kevin S. Reardon says can be covered by the grant.

Burghill-Vernon Fire Chief George Snyder said if the additional radios are purchased, 98 percent of his division will be MARCS-based.

“We are happy about this and would be happy if every department in the district receives the grant for the radios. The $ 10,000 is a good deal of money to get what we need, ”said Snyder.

Snyder said the FEMA funding helped the department get two portable and two mobiles with $ 10,000 to get two to three more radios plus programming fees.

“There is no greater honor in my position than helping to keep Ohio first responders safe while protecting their communities,” Reardon said in a press release announcing the grant.

Priority funding went to departments applying through a regional or state-wide effort, and Reardon said Ashtabula County was one of four Ohio counties that were funded on a statewide system.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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