Volusia County’s Public Security Radio System Upgraded | Corporations
A $ 24.6 million upgrade to Volusia County’s public safety radio system recently received unanimous approval from the county council to improve emergency response procedures for homes and businesses.
All first responders in Volusia County – law enforcement, fire and rescue services – rely on the radio system to communicate with each other on site, receive real-time updates, and stay connected to the control center while responding to emergencies. Effective and reliable communication is essential. In an emergency it can be a matter of life and death.
The existing communication system, which supports more than 9,000 radios, is nearly 30 years old and the technology has reached the end of its life cycle. In many cases, spare parts are no longer available. In the meantime, the requirements of public safety radio have gone beyond the capabilities of the units currently in use.
Developed by public safety professionals, the P25 standards for two-way radio systems have become the industry standard because of their improved reliability and the ability for radios on different systems to communicate with one another regardless of manufacturer. The ability to connect effectively to other radio systems is especially important in fast-paced events involving multiple jurisdictions and is absolutely critical to the safety and protection of both residents and emergency services.
The district has been planning for the new system and the associated costs for years. Last year Vero Beach County Council Communications International Inc. selected the same company that implemented its original radio system to implement the new P25 system. Due to the complexity of the project, it took months to write and negotiate the contract.
The culmination of years of planning resulted in the council approving $ 24,657,650.97 spending to upgrade the radio system. Most of the money, approximately $ 23.5 million, will go towards the system backbone, such as tower-site equipment and dispatch consoles, as well as approximately 3,300 new radios and upgrades to existing radios. The contract also includes maintenance for 17 years after completion of the plant.
As part of the upgrade, the county plans to increase the number of towers from 13 to 15 to improve wireless coverage – one in Bunnell on a site shared with Flagler County and another being built in Osteen.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood, whose deputy is one of the largest users of the radio system, thanked the improved system to come and said the public would be safer.
“This is a critical technology upgrade that will ensure our first responders have a state-of-the-art lifeline to get help where it’s needed,” said Sheriff Chitwood. “Our men and women in uniform are better equipped with this move and our residents and visitors are safer because of this move, and I thank the state parliament, the administration and every employee for their foresight in this project.”
The entire project is expected to take around 2 1/2 years.