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FIND OUT WHY: Wakulla County is getting a new emergency communication system

First responders say the current radio communication system is outdated.
Posted at 6:35 PM, Sep 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-22 18:39:23-04
  • Wakulla County is getting an updated emergency communication system.
  • This is being funded by an $11 million dollars.
  • First responders say the current radio communication system is outdated.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

During an emergency it's important to have clear and fast communication.

County leaders told me they're investing in new equipment to keep you safe. Here's how it works.

First responders say the current radio communication system is out dated.

SOT: "Now there's a lot of dead spots."

Andy Bowman is the Battalion Chief for Wakulla County Fire Rescue.

He says a new, updated system will help them get faster and more reliable communication in emergencies.

"You'll be able to communicate and everybody will be able to hear what's going on." Says Chief Bowman

He's worked in Wakulla for 14 years serving neighbors in this community.

He tells me over those years, he's dealt with communication obstacles.

For example...

"If I'm working a house fire I have to stay at my car while working the house fire to talk back to dispatch most of the time instead of being out walking around the scene to see what's going on" Says Chief Bowman

New tech can be expensive...so how is this new system getting paid for?

Well Wakulla County received an $11 million dollar grant from Triumph Gulf Coast with county capital contribution of $1 million.

I asked County Commissioner Ralph Thomas why that's money well-spent.

"We're the very first recipient of funds along this line it's is in a public safety realm and so were very happy it took us several years to get it through the process but we did now and we should received about $11 million dollars." Says Commissioner Thomas

The current system is incompatible with partnering public safety agencies.

That makes it hard to communicate when seconds matter.

The new system is supposed to solve that problem.

"We'll have rapid response or we can get the right people at the right time and communicate if they need help will be able to call for back up on a lot of times now we get stuck and I just can't communicate back to the dispatchers." Says Commissioner Thomas

The county is ready to install 6 towers to provide better signal for the new system.

Cellular companies can also pay to use these lines. That could mean better cell service for Wakulla county

"It's an amazing system what we're moving to it should give us what we need and sustain us for years and years to come." Says Chief Bowman

County leaders say the new emergency communication system will be in place sometime next year.