New Danville radio system to enhance communication for emergency calls

DANVILLE, Virginia. – In an emergency, seconds count. And quick and clear communication can mean life or death.

“We need this constant communication that tells us exactly what we need and when we need it,” said Bryan Fox, deputy chief of the Danville Life Saving Crew.

Fox is concerned about the reliability of its current radio system.

“As time and technology change, it didn’t take long to somehow become antiquated,” said Fox.

Emergency responders had to deal with dead zones and required multiple radios to communicate with the Danville and Pittsylvania Counties Fire Department, making it difficult to respond to emergencies.

“So you can imagine it was a bit like Batman with his bat belt. They had four different radios on a scene trying to communicate with these different agencies, ”Fox said.

In order to streamline communication and shorten reaction times, the crew is switching to a new radio system: L3Harris.

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It’s the same network as Pittsylvania County.

With a $ 700,000 capital investment, the crew upgraded their building and existing radio tower to connect with the county’s towers.

“We leave here, we go north, south, east or west, these locations will all pick us up and we can communicate,” said Fox.

Pittsylvania County even provided $ 175,000 of its own funds from CARES so the crew could make the switch.

“It made sense for Pittsylvania County to put some of that money into this system that allows these separate entities to better coordinate and communicate effectively,” said Caleb Ayers, the county’s public relations manager.

With new mobile radios in ambulances and approximately 100 new handheld radios, Fox looks forward to serving the community in the future.

“We appreciate the community’s support over these 76 years,” said Fox. “The community was behind us and we’re trying to do what is best for them, and these upgrades will actually improve the service.”

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