Digital Communities

PA Counties Band Together to Save Big on Radio System

The new radio systems allow first responders in Franklin, Adams, and Dauphin counties to maintain contact with each other through a Motorola DSR system backup core if main communication system fails.

by Andrea Rose, The Record Herald / December 6, 2018

(TNS) — Franklin County, Pa., Commissioners Tuesday got an update on an inter-county radio system, which will improve communication during emergencies and save the county more than a million dollars over the next seven years.

In May, the board voted unanimously to join Adams and Dauphin counties in adopting an inter-county radio system.

The South Central Inter-County Communications Network is fully redundant and will provide a backup in the event of a system failure. The system also allows for quick and secure communications over a large network, according to John Thierwechter, director of the county Department of Emergency Services.

In the event of a power outage, equipment failure or damage to the primary communication system, the Motorola DSR system automatically switches to a backup core that will allow first responders to continue to utilize their communication network.

In addition, the system provides updates that provide for the most current version of the system, Thierwechter said.

Previously, every county had its own radio system. With the cooperative agreement and technology, all counties involved stand to save money. Franklin County is estimated to save $1.3 million in communication costs over seven years.

While the backend of the technology will change, the front lines will see no change under normal circumstances.

"Nobody's gonna see a difference, it's just more efficient," explained Commissioner Bob Thomas.

The county was awarded a $154,000 grant which covers annual maintenance on the system.

Thierwechter said he expects the new system to be up and running in July. He said other counties can still join the network and cost-share.

"There's still some hope in the future, more counties will participate in this," said Commissioner David Keller. "That could mean a cost savings."

©2018 The Record Herald, Waynesboro, Pa. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.