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Get the job done in Progress: Replacing 9-1-1 Conversation tower devices | Information

A very long-expression course of action to replace the Columbia 9-1-1 Communication District’s 20-yr outdated getting older radio program is little by little proceeding.

Tower Equipment

The equipment on large 911 Columbia County communication towers, these as this 1, is gradually being changed for additional successful operations.

The technique utilizes 12 land towers anchored in numerous factors throughout Columbia County and two towers in Washington point out. But more than the years, the potential of the program to proficiently support unexpected emergency communications among law enforcement, hearth and ambulance 1st responders continues to deteriorate.

“We have the capacity to dispatch, but after they get on the road they can encounter inadequate or no radio protection,” Columbia 9-1-1 Conversation District Executive Director Mike Fletcher reported. “The devices is failing and desires to be replaced. The elements that are failing are not built any more, so we literally have to come across replacement pieces on the web to hold it likely.”

The failing process impacts the capability of initial responders to achieve persons requesting 911 solutions, in accordance to Fletcher.

“All of this interaction method is what law enforcement, hearth and medics count on,” Fletcher explained. “Our goal is to replace it with new and contemporary equipment and strengthen radio protection.”

“Most men and women think of the program as people massive towers unfold across the county with transmitters beneath them and antennas on the towers,” Fletcher stated.

The system’s moveable and cellular radios are also staying changed.

“The portables are what you see on the hips of law enforcement officers and on the outdoors of firefighters’ uniforms. The mobiles are radios inside the initially responders’ autos,” he mentioned.

The system’s microwave antennas, big round dishes hooked up to the towers, are now being replaced in a phased in method.

“The microwave antennas assistance the thrust-to-communicate radios, the portables and mobiles, they tie all of the towers together by simulcasting the voice and video clip,” Fletcher mentioned.

The District released a Request for Data (RFI) in 2018 looking for responses from conversation vendors. 3 sellers responded with solutions to change the current towers and radio systems. In 2019, the District executed general public conferences in St. Helens and a person-on-one desires assessments with all stakeholders of the process.

The District then contracted last spring with Federal Engineering, an independent company, to perform an evaluation of the communication procedure.

“They appeared at what we have now, wherever our tools is, the heritage of the existing radio method, and the proposals from sellers who available replacement choices,” Fletcher explained.

Federal Engineering introduced their report and recommendations to the District board in September. The 9-1-1 District Board, and the Columbia County 9-1-1 Advisory Committee, comprised of all the law enforcement, fire and EMS suppliers, reviewed the report and suggestions.

Fletcher estimates changing the conversation technique could expense anywhere from $9 million to $25 million.

“We know the full replacement of the radio program is going to be in the millions of dollars, so we began a alternative undertaking a pair of years in the past for the microwave part of the technique,” Fletcher reported. “Incrementally, we have been upgrading the microwave community.”

Fletcher said the incremental enhance will be value successful.

“Every dollar that we commit now on individuals microwave devices is a dollar that we don’t have to ask the voters for when we go out for a bond (to deal with the value of the overall technique alternative),” Fletcher claimed. “The up grade replacements will function with any new radio system that the board approves.”

The District is operating with Federal Engineering as its advisor for the alternative course of action. The District has scheduled its upcoming regular regular board assembly for 9 a.m. Dec. 9 to overview a $15,000 agreement extension with Federal Engineering to fund a workshop in early 2022 to overview concerns from stakeholders about the program alternative needs.

“Hopefully, the board will make a determination on which answer to go after,” Fletcher reported. “Federal Engineering will possible be asked by the board to perform the style and design of the new procedure and negotiate contractors with the essential sellers.”

Fletcher said much work need to be carried out before the District goes to voters with a normal obligation bond to fund the program replacement.

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