Woodyard: Gear will aid fire crews

PARKERSBURG – The Wood County 911 Director was given the go ahead to purchase updated equipment to assist the county’s volunteer fire departments.

Rick Woodyard told county commissioners Monday by purchasing the upgraded repeater radios now, it would save the county $2,000 per unit.

“The fire departments are using repeaters that are antiquated. The equipment was piece-mealed together initially from equipment from the office of Emergency Services, and the radios are dilapidated. I would like to move to this new system which is being used by the cities and sheriff’s department already,” Woodyard said.

Woodyard said the new equipment is Icom America Eclipse II.

A radio repeater is a combination radio receiver and radio transmitter that receives a weak or low-level signal and re-transmits it at a higher level or higher power, so that the signal can cover longer distances without degradation.

The equipment would serve nine of the volunteer fire departments in the county. Vienna Volunteer Fire Department and Parkersburg’s Fire Department have their own systems.

“The reason I don’t want to wait until after July 1 to make the purchase is because this is the last chance to purchase off the GSA contract pricing. We were told it will be taken off the contract, and when it is put back on the cost will be an additional $2,000 per unit,” Woodyard said.

The cost for the sites is $35,876.

Woodyard said the equipment will be identified to the units in the field of the agencies.

“We will be able to do away with the UHF and place the system in the microwave links,” he said.

Woodyard said he could then take the old OES equipment, and refurbish it so it could be used as a backup system for the fire departments.

“By making this change it should address the reception, transmission problems the departments have been facing,” Woodyard said.

In addition, the 911 director said he was notified Friday there were also problems with the antenna for the emergency services site.

Woodyard said purchasing two additional units would address those issues.

The total cost, for the fire departments and EMS units would be $47,800, Woodyard said.

“It’s a one-time cost and the equipment should last between 8-10 years,” he said.

Woodyard said he has the funds to purchase the equipment in his 911 budget.

The commissioners unanimously approved the purchase.