Fire Territory To Seek Grant for Radio Upgrade

Emergency services stay in contact through the 800 MHZ and VHF radio frequencies.
The City of Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety Monday granted Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory Chief Mike Wilson permission to apply for a Federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant to upgrade the fire territory’s radio communications equipment.
According to information provided to the BOW, the fire territory needs to upgrade its radio equipment to communicate with Lutheran Emergency Medical Services and fire operations within the county and within the Indiana Department of Homeland Security Division 2. “Currently, these agencies operate on multiple frequencies on the 800 MHZ and VHF frequencies, of which the new upgraded communications radio system will allow us to be compliant with the new state level P-25 compliant radios, without the use of multiple radios,” the information states.
The cost to upgrade to the new P-25 compliant radio system is approximately $246,000. If the Warsaw fire department is awarded the federal grant, the department would be responsible for a 10 percent match, or about $22,367.
The P-25 handles both the 800 MHZ and VHF frequencies, Wilson explained. “It’s all done in one handheld, all done in one mobile,” he said, eliminating the need for a fire commander to stand over two portable radios in an emergency situation.
He noted the state is going to the P-25. In Kosciusko County, Wilson said it’s the goal on the fire departments’ side to stay with VHF as it’s too expensive for volunteer departments to switch over to 800 MHZ. There’s also some issues with 800 MHZ inside some buildings, he said.
In working with the EMS, Wilson said he was told that they don’t plan to go back to VHF as 800 MHZ works great for them. Other agencies received the Federal Assistance grant from FEMA, Wilson noted, because they are moving to 800 MHZ from VHF “because that’s the wave of the future.”
Mayor Joe Thallemer remarked, “I remember a while ago, it seemed like everyone was going to shift to 800. And what’s happening here is, you’re basically creating a means to stay with what you have, but it improves the communication as others go to 800.”
“That is correct,” Wilson confirmed. If down the road the fire department is able to do something countywide or within its own department and “go straight 800, we’re already ahead of the ballgame,” Wilson said.
“I’m trying to get a radio system that is going to work well with us on the VHF side, and have the capability of having that 800 side whenever we move to it,” Wilson continued.
Board of Works member and City Councilman Jeff Grose said he thought it was a good idea to go after the grant and moved for the fire department to apply for it.
If something bad were to happen in the area like a tornado, Wilson said the grant would provide enough funding that he could purchase enough portables and mobiles to share with the other city departments.
Earlier in the meeting, Thallemer gave the oath of office to Dan Smith, who will be serving his first term on the Board of Zoning Appeals this year, and Michelle Boxell, who will be serving her second term on the Parks & Recreation Board.
In other business, the Board of Public Works and Safety:
• Approved the yearly agreement for Lawrence Clifford to provide code hearing contracted services for 2016 for $8,100, as requested by City Planner Jeremy Skinner.
• Approved for the Warsaw Police Department to acquire Leads Online Law Enforcement Database, which operates and maintains an electronic reporting and criminal investigation system for receiving and disseminating data for all pawn and secondhand stores. Annual cost is $2,462.
• Approved the expenditure of $270 for updating the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory’s booklet for elementary students. Grace College student Katherine Morrisroe is redesigning the materials. The territory used to buy the materials, but in 2009 it determined to design its own with the help of Grace College students. Fire Chief Mike Wilson estimated the territory will give out about 2,100 booklets.
• Approved contracts for the Parks & Recreation Department’s summer concert series, including: High Life, contemporary jazz and rhythm & blues, May 27, $600; Kris Hitchcock & Small Town Son, country and rock, June 3, $1,200; Myra Atkinson, Caribbean steel drum, June 10, $1,200; Whistle Pigs, big brass, Aug. 26, $800; Jennifer DeVoe, Blues & BBQ concert opener, July 8, $1,500; and Larry Garner, Blues & BBQ concert headliner, July 8, $2,500.
• Approved a contract between the Parks Department and Jeremy VanLue for DJ service for $300 and Our Father’s House for catering for $862.50 for Daddy’s Little Sweetheart Dance Feb. 5.
• Approved a contract between the Parks Department and Driveline Coffee for $280 for catering beverages for the Coffee & Canvas program June 21 and Sept. 16 and Kara Schafer for $150 for painting instruction on those two dates at 6:30 p.m.
• Approved a contract with Charles Ray Jr. for a fly fishing workshop May 21 and Aug. 27 with classes from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Ray will receive $150 and $120 for the two class times respectively.
• Approved the Parks Department’s agreement with Rebecca Anglin to offer Zumba workshops, with Anglin receiving $360 per session for two sessions.
• Approved for Recreation Director Sheila Wieringa to apply for a grant with the Kosciusko County Convention, Recreation and Visitor Commission to purchase 10 paddleboards and necessary equipment to be used for a free community paddleboard program and low-cost paddleboard clinics. She will apply for $5,000.
• Approved Parks & Recreation Superintendent Larry Plummer’s request to purchase a skid-steer loader from Bobcat of Warsaw. With the trade-in and municipality discount, cost will be $1,800.
• Approved agreements with the Center Lake, Pike Lake and Winona Lake Preservation Associations for prevention, conservation and maintenance of the lakes for $2,500 per lake.
• Approved a maintenance agreement between the city and Anderson Property Management for maintenance of the satellite beds and urns of Central Park for $1,888.88 per month for nine months for a total of $16,999.92.
• Approved the 2015 Parks and Recreation contract for Warsaw-Wayne Township. The township will pay the city $72,500 for the use and benefit of the city’s parks.

(Story By The Times Union)