HUNTINGTON COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — Fire departments in Huntington County will soon receive upgrades to their equipment.
Huntington County received an ‘Assistance to Firefighters Grant’ from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security worth more than $1.2 million.
The grant will help provide more than 200 handheld radios, mobile radios, station radios and pagers to Huntington, Andrews, Markle, Bippus, Huntington Township, Mt. Etna, Warren and Roanoke fire departments. All but the city of Huntington fires department are volunteer.
The Huntington Fire Department applied as the host agency and included the other departments in its application after learning their departments were having similar problems with their radios.
“The need to update our radios has been a priority for the last three years,” Huntington Fire Chief Tony Johnson said. “Huntington Fire Department’s current radios are no longer repairable and have become obsolete.”
The new Motorola radios will have a lot more features than the old ones. For example, if a firefighter goes into a fire and needs help, he will now be able to push a button on his radio that will let others know. One of the biggest problems with the current radios is that when a firefighter tries to speak or communicate about what is happening, the firefighter’s words can sometime cut out or it will make a gargling sound. The new radios will have noise-canceling microphones, which will help with communication not just within the unit but also with other departments.
“It’s really going to be helpful because now everyone in the county has the best radio equipment that we can get today,” Johnson said. “We do a lot of mutual aid throughout the departments in the county so being able to communicate with each other and not having to worry about radios that aren’t up to the par that they need, this is going to be really big for our county.”
With the grant, each fire department will pay a 10 percent match for the equipment it receives. Due to the coronavirus pandemic there is a wait for radios. Johnson hopes the new radios will arrive before the end of the year.