Work is continuing toward the implementation of the county’s new emergency radio communication system within the next month or two.
The county is switching its radio system from its current VHF (Very High Frequency) system, which operates through line of sight communications, to the Lucas County Trunk System. The county has been experiencing issues due to narrow banding as the loss of bandwidth has led to increasing numbers of dropped calls for emergency personnel such as law enforcement and firefighters.
The project includes an Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) System site, which includes leasing space on a Link Technologies tower on State Route 281 between state routes 108 and 109.
Last week, Henry County Emergency Management Agency Director Tracy Busch said a bandwidth connectivity issue will hopefully be resolved by hooking into a fiber internet connection that’s currently being installed by Metalink and Link Technologies in the area of the tower.
“We were told they were going to have the fiber installed by late July at the latest, and the only test we have to do then is, once the fiber is hooked up, we have to run a 24-hour test,” Busch explained. “As soon as it passes the 24-hour test, the site will become operational.”
The system also includes new consolettes to be installed at the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the Napoleon Police Department to allow the dispatchers to communicate with personnel over the new radios once they are put into service. Those were among the last items which were bid out, and Busch said they have arrived, but have not been installed yet. Portable and mobile radios for the fire and EMS departments throughout the county have also been purchased.
Busch said the consolettes and some portable and mobile radios do still need programmed.
While grant funds were secured for a portion of the ASR site and law enforcement radios, applications for radios for fire and EMS departments were not approved. The commissioners are funding 50 percent of the cost for up to 20 new portable radios per entity with each entity covering the remaining 50 percent. For the remaining 50 percent, each entity can decide how it will repay the county for its share of the radios at 0 percent interest for up to a maximum of 10 years.
Busch added the county has been able to finance the project without seeking additional taxpayer funds.
“That’s $1.3 million, and we did not put a levy on to do it,” Busch said. “I’m proud of that.”