The Union Recorder

Local News

September 19, 2013

Local firefighters communicating OK

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Milledgeville Fire Department turned on a new 700-megahertz radio system Friday, Sept. 6. 

Currently, Baldwin County Fire Rescue doesn’t work under that system. The county fire department still operates “Turbo” Digital VHF radios.

Concerns from public officials about fire ground response and safety across both the city and county fire departments led to subsequent meetings and a confusion-clearing local gathering at City Hall Wednesday.

Mayor Richard Bentley and Baldwin County Commission Chairman Sammy Hall, along with attorneys, managers and public safety leadership met for an hour and a half.

Bentley said there were misunderstandings about what the city was trying to achieve with a different radio. The meeting got both governments on the same page with fire response protocols and communications.

“I wanted to meet today to find out where the miscommunication was,” Bentley said Wednesday afternoon. “I think having everybody in the same room got all that out in the air and got the problem solved. It’s a public safety issue, and obviously that’s quite important to the city and the county.”

Certain county officials worried firefighters now needed to carry two radios into the fire ground thereby tangling up the response.

Hall said fire ground operations would maintain standard procedure with the Turbo radios for the immediate future. 

“We aren’t going to be in a situation where firefighters are going to carry two radios and have to figure out which ones to use,” Hall said.

The Automatic Aid Agreement between fire departments remains unchanged.

City and county leaders learned the two radio systems could “talk” to one another under certain mechanisms.

“If we knew that to start with, that probably would have solved our issues,” Hall said. “That’s not what we are doing, but it could be done.”

The mayor said the city wouldn’t stop using the 700 models.

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