County OKs funding for new radio system for fire departmentsPublished 10:21am Wednesday, May 16, 2012
After two years of work and negotiations, all emergency responders in Otter Tail County will be able to communicate over the same frequency.
The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners Tuesday approved funding for new communication equipment for the west Otter Tail County fire departments. All emergency responders will now be able to communicate seamlessly, said Lt. Matthew McGuire of the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office.
The fire departments in west Otter Tail County are the last group of emergency responders in the county to receive funding for the new 800 MHz communication system. These fire departments are Fergus Falls, Pelican Rapids, Elizabeth, Dalton, Battle Lake, Underwood, Rothsay and Vergas.
“This is the final phase of a long process,” McGuire said. “It has been a cooperative effort by a lot of different levels of government. The city, county, regional and state agencies had to work together to make this a reality.”
One of the most important things this new system will bring to the county is reliability, McGuire said.
“The old system had four towers throughout the county,” he said. “The 800 MHz system has seven. Portable and mobile coverage will be improved county-wide.”
The idea is to put quality communication tools in every emergency vehicle and in the hands of every emergency responder, said McGuire.
Commissioner Douglas Huebsch noted the importance of this new system in terms of safety.
“Public safety affects everybody,” he said. “Not only residents but visitors as well.”