Volusia County Public Safety Radio System to be Upgraded | Business
A $ 24.6 million upgrade to the Volusia County public safety radio system recently gained unanimous county council approval to improve emergency response to homes and businesses.
All of Volusia County’s first responders – law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical services – rely on the radio system to communicate with each other in the field, receive real-time updates and stay connected to the dispatch center while responding to emergencies. Effective and reliable communication is essential. In an emergency, it can be a matter of life and death.
The existing communications system, which supports over 9,000 radios, is nearly 30 years old and the technology has reached the end of its lifecycle. In many cases, spare parts are no longer available. Meanwhile, the needs for public safety radio have exceeded the capabilities of the units currently in use.
Developed by public safety professionals, the P25 standards for two-way radio systems have become the industry standard due to their improved reliability and the ability of radios from different systems to communicate with each other regardless of the manufacturer. . The ability to effectively connect with other radio systems is especially important in fast-paced events that involve multiple jurisdictions, and absolutely crucial for the safety and protection of residents and response workers.
The county has been planning the new system and the associated costs for years. Last year, the county council selected Communications International Inc. of Vero Beach, the same company that implemented its original radio system, to implement the new P25 system. Due to the complexity of the project, the contract took months to draft and negotiate.
The culmination of years of planning allowed council to approve spending of $ 24,657,650.97 to upgrade the radio system. Most of the money, about $ 23.5 million, goes to the backbone of the system, such as tower site equipment and dispatch consoles, as well as about 3,300 new radios. and upgrades to existing radios. The contract also includes maintenance for 17 years after the completion of the system.
As part of the upgrade, the county plans to increase the number of towers from 13 to 15 to improve radio coverage – adding one to Bunnell at a site shared with Flagler County, and another to be built. in Osteen.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood, whose deputies are one of the biggest users of the radio system, expressed gratitude for the upcoming upgraded system and said the public would be safer because of it.
“This is a critical technology upgrade that will give our first responders a state-of-the-art lifeline to get help where it’s needed,” said Sheriff Chitwood. “Our men and women in uniform are better equipped and our residents and visitors are safer with this move, and I am grateful to the County Council, administration and every member of staff for their foresight on this project. “
The whole project is expected to last around 2 and a half years.