Edmonson Voice Staff
Edmonson County Emergency Management Director Pat Prunty presented the beginning stages of a plan that would upgrade the county's emergency radio system that was installed in 2004. Judge Executive Wil Cannon described the system as "something that was probably outdated when it was installed."
Cannon first addressed the issue by listing some disadvantages that the county faces by using the current system, such as: obsolete parts, components, and the fact that severe weather can temporarily cause a partial outage in it's usage.
Director Prunty explained the current system. "The system we have now works off of microwave antennas," he said. "Basically, it has big satellite dishes that act as lightning rods, and that's the problem when they get hit. The system we're looking into now would be an IP (address) application. What that means is, we would have a DSL or internet connection at different sites to transfer the signal back to our dispatch center. It would be more reliable. We're also looking at adding two more of these sites to increase our coverage."
He said coverage would increase in the county by adding connection to the Wingfield Fire Dept tower as well as the Corps of Engineer tower at Nolin Lake. Current emergency radios already work in those areas, but it would simply boost signal and allow better coverage in those areas. Another advantage to the new system, Prunty said, would be the capability of expansion in the future, something the current obsolete system cannot allow.
"We have to bid all this out, obviously," Prunty continued. "But it looks really promising that we can do this without bankrupting us. We're going to be stretching our dollar to get the best possible system we can for the money."
Prunty said past estimates received were over $200,000, but that this can be done for under $100K. He said he plans to start accepting bids as early as April so the project can be completed within this fiscal year.