This article originally appeared in MonValley Independent and can be viewed here.
The Washington County Department of Public Safety is getting input from emergency responders regarding the communication system in the county.
There are currently 18 communications towers providing service to the three fire zones, three police zones and a county-wide emergency medical services zone. Several radio stakeholders meetings have been held this week by Mission Critical Partners, the consulting firm hired by the county earlier this year to assess the current system and needs of emergency responders in the county.
A meeting Wednesday at the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department attracted the largest turnout of the four sessions held, drawing representatives of four police departments and seven fire departments.
Justin Shawley, interim deputy director for the county’s Department of Public Safety, said the Stockdale meeting was the only one that attracted police departments. Carroll Township, RESA, Centerville and West Pike Run were represented. On the firefighters’ side, Roscoe, Stockdale, Charleroi, Carroll, Elrama, Lock 4 and Charleroi had a presence at the meeting.
Mission Critical Partners Vice President Scott Neal, a former Pennsylvania state trooper, said the company will conduct an assessment of the current communications system, then will look at multiple paths forward.
Those paths could include staying with the current system with modifications or switching to a new digital network, either in the currently used VHF band or switching to a UHF band, depending on the number of channels needed in the county and their availability, as well as overall cost.
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