Fire departments from six area jurisdictions are jointly applying for a $400,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Services to purchase communications equipment.
The Lake Township trustees Tuesday agreed to apply for the grant, joining with the Allen-Clay Joint Fire District, fire departments in the cities of Northwood, Perrysburg and Rossford, and the Perrysburg Township Fire Department.
If received, the grant, which requires a 10 percent local match, would be used to purchase a radio repeater system that amplifies signals.
The system would enable departments in the north end of Wood County to better communicate with departments to the south, said Mark Hummer, police chief and administrator in Lake Township.
He said he and Mike Hornyak, acting chief of the township fire department, have informally reviewed potential sites for the system, including the Bowling Green area.
The trustees also approved purchasing equipment needed at the township’s dispatching center to complete the fire department’s transitioning to an 800 megahertz emergency radio system. Bender Communications, Toledo, is being hired to install the equipment at a cost of $5,038.
Hornyak said the fire department will be operating with the 800 system by early July.
The township police department has already switched to the 800 system, chief Hummer said.
Ironically, the departments’ switch to the 800 system occurs when the Wood County Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Management Agency are completing an upgrade of the county’s fire and emergency medical service communications equipment but not to an 800 system.
Testing of the upgrade will be completed in time for the system to be fully implemented by July 1, according to a letter to fire and EMS chiefs from Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn and Brad Gilbert, director of the county EMA office.
The letter advises the chiefs to have their radio systems re-programmed by July 1.
“We will be on our 800 system,” said chief Hummer after Melanie Bowen, a trustee, read the letter from Gilbert and Wasylyshyn during Tuesday’s meeting. “We’re jumping off at the right time.”
The 800 system provides better communication between departments than the county’s system, he said after the meeting.
“I feel we’re going in the right direction,” he said.
In other business, the trustees allocated up to $10,000 for the “I am Responding” phone program for use by the fire department.
Chief Hornyak said the system will enable firefighters to enter a code in their cell phones that can be monitored by the township’s dispatching center.
Other area departments are using the system, he said, adding “It’s going to save time on our responses.”
The trustees also authorized an early pay-off of a loan to buy a 2007 fire truck. Vicki Schwamberger, fiscal officer, said retiring the debt 4 ½ years early with a payment of $191,000 would save the township about $42,000 in interest.