MOUNT VERNON — The purchase of digital microwave equipment for emergency personnel use in Centerburg was approved when the Knox County 9-1-1 Board met in special session Friday morning.
This equipment, at the cost of $25,000, will complete Phase 2 of a countywide project to enhance radio communications across all emergency management locations in Knox County.
Arlin Bradford, a representative with VASU Communications, explained that this enhancement will allow officers to be abreast of what is happening across the county. Upgrades will allow all EMS, law enforcement and fire department personnel to communicate without interference.
The system upgrade will convert signals from analog to digital.
“This is the future. This is building Knox County up every day as we move along,” said Bradford, who explained that the frequency currently being used is susceptible to interference.
“This will be a new digital platform which will block all interference,” said Bradford.
Recent problems reported were issues with repeaters, where signals were getting mixed with other traffic, making it hard to get a clear signal.
“We couldn’t talk to dispatchers while on runs,” said Central Ohio Joint Fire District Chief Joe Porter. “It was creating problems ... it’s a safety issue.”
“I don’t think anything we purchase will be counterproductive with what we’re trying to do,” said Mount Vernon Fire Department Chief Shawn Christy. “This fits in completely with where we’re going to go. It’s a perfectly good, positive direction.”
The project at Centerburg is Phase 2 of the project, “which is a first responders safety issue between dispatchers and officers,” said Knox County EMA Director Brian Hess. Its purpose is to “connect all fire, EMS and law enforcement personnel together, eliminating any dead spots,” said Hess.