FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Volunteer firefighters across Allen County will soon have updated communication systems.

Allen County Council on Thursday approved $1.46 million for 11 volunteer fire departments to purchase new, modern 800 megahertz paging and alerting systems.

Dozens attend the Allen County Council meeting on Thursday, July 21, 2022.

A request was made for $1.8 million, but Council ordered the balance ($340,000) to come from the budgets of each fire department.

The county’s volunteer departments are using a 20-year-old VHF system built by Motorola. The problem: Motorola no longer technically supports the system, and parts are no longer available.

Representatives from fire districts like Southwest Allen, Arcola, Poe and East Central told WANE 15 this spring that the crucial equipment needed updated “before we have a catastrophe.”

“Every day we need reliable and dependable communications for us to be able to respond to emergency calls,” said Robert Boren, president of the Allen County Fire Chiefs Association.

Allen County has 11 fire departments outside the city of Fort Wayne, 23 fire stations and about 550 firefighters and medics.