For emergency responders, being able to communicate with dispatch over the radio while on a call is a gamble in some areas of Warren County.
“There are dead spots in the county,” said Warren County Sheriff’s Department Major Jason Walker. “We upgraded radios a couple years ago and that helped a little bit. As far as service, there are quite a few dead spots where you cannot get out on the radio. Car radios are a lot better but once you get out on the portable, sometimes you have to get back to your car before the dispatch center can hear you in quite a few areas of the county.”
That comment came during a joint meeting of the county Budget and Finance Committee and Building and Grounds Committee when Commissioner Scott Rubley asked about dead spots – areas where deputies are unable to communicate with dispatch over the radio while on a call – or any other communication issues.
When asked by Commissioner Tommy Savage, Warren County EMS director Preston Denney confirmed the existence of dead spots while using portable radios.
“Most of the contact with have with dispatch is before we ever leave the truck,” said Denney. “So we don’t see as much of the problem as the Sheriff’s Department. We did have an issue in Viola. We were at a wreck scene there the other day. It was off in a hole. There was a hill on each side of us.
We had some issues communicating with portable radios, but we could get out on the radios in the ambulance.”
Communication’s Evolu-tions owner Richard Myers said a study would determine what is needed to improve emergency communications in the county and the cost associated with it, but he did offer an estimate.
“We are probably looking at a $250,000 estimate to do what we need to do and do it right,” said Myers. “That’s what needs to happen. It would make a drastic change, safety wise, for our emergency services guys.”
Myers later added, “This is definitely something we need to address before someone gets hurt or killed, which is very possible.”
Rubley questioned a timeline on the project if funds are made available.
“It would probably be six to eight months,” said Myers.
Commissioners are considering how best to spend slightly more than $1 million allocated to Warren County government by Gov. Bill Lee. Commissioners tabled the discussion for later consideration.