Narrow banding for Marion County radios was completed this past week, Emergency Management Director Dan D’Albini told Marion County Commission on Monday.
First Wireless Inc. reduced the wattage output on nearly 700 radios. Even though the original bid was only slated to cover 491 radios, the contractor did not require more than the projected $6,700 for the job.
There were several radios that were too old to modify — 13 with Road and Bridge department, eight portable radios, and nine other radios for law enforcement and fire departments. D’Albini presented bids for new Motorola radios. Sixteen-channel radios for Road and Bridge would cost $550 each. Mobile radios for the other departments would cost $680 a piece and would have access to more than 100 channels. Portable radios cost $799.
Each radio would have digital capability, which D’Albini said will be a federal requirement for all county radios in the future. Burns, having to communicate with Butler County officials already operates with a digital system.
The commission did not decide on radios this week, wanting specifics on the recipient of each new radio. Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford said cell phones might be sufficient in place of portable radios for Road and Bridge Department.
D’Albini said he was looking into enlarging the standoff for the county antenna to 6 feet from the tower to ease access for Florence radios. U.S. Cellular owns the 200-foot tower at Pawnee and 190th Road. The antenna is currently located suspended from the middle of the tower. D’Albini said placing the antenna at the top of the tower would be ideal but that proposition would need to be discussed with the cell phone company.
In other business:
- Marion County Emergency Medical Services Director Steve Smith is going to place an old county ambulance for sale on an Internet auction website. The minimum bid for the vehicle will be $1,500.
- Smith is preparing for state ambulance inspections this coming week. One state regulation change is a requirement that the county provide a complete yearly inventory of items on each ambulance. One complication is the Peabody Ambulance has more advanced life support equipment than other ambulances, specifically a heart monitor and defibrillator.
- There have been fewer 911 calls in 2012 than in 2011, according to a report submitted by D’Albini. In April 2011 there were 588 reported calls; this past April there were 411.
- There were 13 separate cases where patients refused ambulance transport in April, according to a report submitted by Smith. Smith said the county is billing patients when some health care is provided at the scene without transport.