Fire departments seek deadline extension for radio merger
The merger will allow 12 volunteer departments to use their current radios while allowing dispatch to use one system
By Rachael Griffin
The Anniston Star
OXFORD, Ala. — Officials from local volunteer fire departments are hoping the Calhoun County 911 system will continue to dispatch calls for them while they wait to test a merger of radio platforms that could make such dispatching easier.
The Alabama Regional Communication System board voted Tuesday to have a committee examine a proposed merger of its system with the UHF system managed by the Alabama Forestry Commission and used by 12 area volunteer fire departments. The board wants to consider such a merger carefully before even allowing a test, members said.
A series of connections known as bridges could allow the board’s 800 MHz digital radio system and the UHF system to work together, allowing volunteer fire departments to continue using UHF radios and eliminating the need for 911 operators to use two sets of equipment. But Alan Watson, chairman of the radio board and Talladega’s police chief, said he needs to learn more about the bridges before making any decisions. A motion to allow the Forestry Commission to test a bridge at one radio tower was rejected by board members.