Emergency Chiefs Explain How Radio Systems Impacted Summer Wells Research | WJHL
ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Hawkins County Public Safety Committee met on Wednesday with Summer Wells’ research and its impact on the county’s resources being a central theme.
The county’s troubled 911 and the radio system between first responders were the point of contention at the meeting.
CONTINUOUS COVERAGE: In Search of Summer Wells
Leaders from the Church Hill Rescue Squad, Hawkins County Rescue Squad, EMA and 911, as well as other emergency operations leaders addressed the committee.
“TEMA and Sullivan Co. EMA provided us with a cache of about 50 radios to hand out to responders who were on the scene,” said 911 manager Lynn Campbell. “If they hadn’t provided these radios, we would have been in deep trouble in Beech Creek. We would not have had any communication with all these people.
Captain Tim Coup of the Church Hill Rescue Squad was there. He also serves as the Search Operations Incident Commander for Summer Wells.
“If you haven’t come out of Beech Creek and left Beech Creek Road and gone to Ben Hill Road, Fields Road, Bells Road and started looking at this land – a bad step… seriously injured or killed and we had 1,194 people searching that area, ”he explained. “I don’t wanna go see any of my members I’m sure Hawkins County Rescue Squad, EMS, you guys don’t wanna knock on that door or the phone, ‘your kid, dad, brother, sister , mother – they are not coming home because of the lack of communication and security for these guys who do this as a volunteer, for free.
There was a lot of praise for the emergency leaders, but committee members said they believed the commission was blamed for the communication problems. Some have backed off as the county has held several meetings on funding and repairing the system.
“We can’t do anything about the radios until we see a resolution or something from us to decide what to do with the radios,” said Michael Harrell, chairman of the public safety committee. “And I don’t know how come we’re still being singled out, we’ve done everything we’re supposed to do and what we’ve seen ahead of us so far.”
In June of last year, the committee approved spending of up to $ 30,000 to fix the failed system at the end of 2019. It’s unclear what happened with that approval.
“We gave you ‘okay’ to do the bandage to fix it and nobody did … nobody did,” Vice President Dawson Fields said in a heated exchange with EMA Director Jamie Miller.
“The archived audio is out there, we’ll get it back,” Miller replied.
“Don’t leave Mr. Miller. If you have something to say, seriously, let’s talk about it, ”Fields said.
I don’t have the facts from each of these meetings, ”Miller said. “We can extract this archived audio. “
“I didn’t need to shoot it because I can tell where everyone was sitting when it was said,” Fields said.
In his report, Captain Coup said the leaders were trying to seek help from the commission.
“We don’t blame. I don’t think an agency is pointing the finger at any of you or any of them when all of these seats are filled, ”Coup said. “It’s just about providing information to help you make the right decision for us.”
In September, the commission approved $ 425,000 for an analog system and recently received an emergency block grant of $ 250,000 for community development the following month. On June 10, the state approved the funding, and the system’s purchase order was released the next day, just days before Summer’s disappearance.
Due to equipment shortages, the system can take 10 weeks to go live and even longer before it can be installed. Later, a new resolution will have to be proposed to upgrade the analog to digital system and fully link the site as well as to purchase field radios for all first responders.