POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The Western Reserve Joint Fire District gets a grant to upgrade its radios – more than $ 1.6 million, replacing its old system. This will allow better communication between the various fire departments.
The Western Reserve Joint Fire District serves both the Canton of Poland and the Village of Poland.
Their radio system is outdated and slowing down vital emergency services throughout Mahoning County.
This grant will change all that.
“There are several radio systems in Mahoning County,” said Chief David “Chip” Comstock of the Western Reserve Joint Fire District.
These different radios do not speak to each other. Instead, firefighters have to go through dispatch to call for help.
“We are no longer able to communicate with our own police department or neighboring fire departments,” Comstock said. “The delay depending on the nature of the appeal can be critical.”
Recently, a firefighter was attacked at the scene.
“The assault took place in Poland, but the initial call came in as Struthers, as it then went through Boardman’s police. There have been far too many delays, ”said Comstock.
Mahoning County doesn’t operate on a consolidated dispatch system, so if you call 911 and your phone doesn’t automatically direct you to the right location, you could be transferred multiple times before speaking with the right agency.
“The more resources you need, the longer it takes to communicate critical information to your neighbors or other agencies that come in,” Comstock said.
And in an emergency, every second is precious.
“We need to work on a system that will provide the best possible services to our residents,” Comstock said.
These new radios will allow almost any fire department in the county to speak to each other directly from an emergency scene.
Comstock says he and other fire chiefs in the area have been calling for a consolidated expedition for nearly a decade without success, but the new radios are a step towards more efficient emergency services in the county.