PARADISE–The fire department is getting ready to give up their old radios and trade them in for new, interoperable 800-megahertz radios.Fire chief Troy Fredrickson brought a memorandum from Cache County to the mayor at the last Town Council meeting. The council needed to approve the money necessary to match the federal grant to acquire the new radios.The new radios will be used by fire departments and emergency crews all over the nation. The purpose, said Fredrickson, is to have all the departments using the same equipment that can be used anywhere in America in any situation.Atwood asked Fredrickson about the necessity of new radios. He said are the new radios like the Cadillac of radios? Fredrickson replied that the new radios’ interoperability was the main purpose of switching systems.Councilman Dale Anderson said there was a major communication problem for the crews on Sept 11 when the World Trade Center was attacked. He said crews came from all over the nation to help and their radios wouldn’t work so there was a shortage of communication devices.The new radios do not use radio waves but the same type of waves as mobile phones. New cellular towers are already being installed across the Wasatch front.The radios ,however, are rather expensive so the government created the 2009 Assistance to Firefighters Grant. The grant will pay for 90 percent of the cost of getting the new radios and the system access fees. The other 10 percent is expected to be paid by the county as a whole, and the bill has been divided among the emergency agencies.The system access fees are similar to the fees that a person might pay for normal mobile phone use, around $20 per radio each month. The individual radios are also quite costly running at about $2,000 each, not including the cost of battery chargers and remote microphones.The department will also be paying for radios for the vehicles and other radios that are less mobile but equally important. The radios also require professional installation which costs a little over $1,000. The final bill for the department at 10 percent of the cost is estimated at $7,263.Fredrickson said that sooner or later the department would have to make the switch; it would be better to do it sooner rather than be one of the groups “sucking wind” after everyone else has already made the change.Atwood signed the memorandum with the council’s OK to go ahead and pay the 10 percent.
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