By Justin Seward
County council was not long to vote in favour of management to explore the Alberta First Responders Radio Communication System (AFRRCS) at the Jan. 23 regular meeting.
An AFRRCS is a two way radio network for first responders in municipal, provincial and First Nation agencies across the province and was first introduced by the Alberta Government on July 1 2016.
The county has budgeted for three radios to be purchased through the fire service budget. It will be when dead areas are identified, is where the county can explore options to piggy back radio communication, cell phone and internet capabilities to enhance communication for local residents.
Fire services members is currently testing two demos with good results.
“The clarity is exceptional,” said John Belanger, county emergency services manager.
Reeve Richard Oster said it is important to look in to improved communications after Hilda residents who were involved in the fire came forward with their concerns with the need for better reception and it would have been helpful at that time to communicate with the RCMP and other areas.
“Anything that we can do to make it safer for our firefighters and the communities, it’s up to us to look at it,” he said.
“I look at it the way Doug (CAO Henderson) explained is it’s for emergency command people and that our firefighters on a daily basis don’t need AFRRCS. Maybe if they had one or two for our fire chief and our deputy fire chief, that’s where it has to go and perhaps our peace officer because she is out there at those events.”
He added there is the possibility of the project taking affect this summer.