By Leah Sander
WARSAW — Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory is getting new radios.
The WWFT Board on Tuesday, Sept. 7, approved purchasing radios for the territory at a cost of $69,724. The new radios are necessary because the county is switching frequencies from VHF (very high frequency) to 700 MHz (megahertz).
“Knowing everything that’s going on with how poor VHF is today, we will be moving to the 700 frequency megahertz, which is like the 800 megahertz that the state systems use, except this is a stand-alone program that’s only good in Kosciusko County,” explained WWFT Chief Mike Wilson.
“As I mentioned before, there are … towers that will be going up (in the county), so that a handheld radio or a mobile radio anywhere in the county will be able to talk to another agency within the county from one point of the county to the other, so from Sidney to Nappanee area, we will upgrade communications. In doing that we have to replace the … mobile radios that are actually sitting in the rigs.”
He explained how the radios will be superior to VHF.
“With VHF radio, it’s difficult to get into concrete and steel buildings, so we can take the 700 frequency we’ve been using ever since we bought these radios and we can be able to run through the Justice Building, the jail, it’s all concrete and metal, and be able to talk to the teams in the basement,” Wilson said. “It’s unheard of.”
The fire territory is paying for the radios out of its budgeted 2021 money. As noted in a letter that Wilson sent to the WWFT Board, the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety and Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer, the territory had tried for a grant to pay for the radios. However Wilson said in the letter that “as of August, we have not received funding under this grant.”
Wilson did mention at the meeting that the radios WWFT was purchasing were at a discount from Kenwood, the chosen supplier. He said leaders hope to have the system operational in January.
Wilson said the plan will be presented to the city Board of Public Works and Safety.
In other business, the board:
- Approved several travel requests: WWFT Fire Marshal Joe Fretz will attend the Indiana Code Education conference, firefighter Justin Miller will take an Advanced Heavy Extrication Course and EMS Chief Chris Fancil will attend the Health & Safety Officer 16-Hour Academy.
The board’s next meeting is at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, at Warsaw City Hall.