Pager glitches prompt Louisiana 911 Board to buy radios for emergency calls : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Pager Glitches Prompt Louisiana 911 Board to buy radios for emergency calls


Florida parishes bureau

DENHAM SPRINGS -- The Livingston Parish 911 Board will purchase portable radios to replace the pagers through which rural fire departments get emergency calls, emergency officials said Monday.

Rural fire officials in the eastern part of the parish have complained they don't always get emergency pages in a timely manner.

The new personal radios "should go a long way toward eliminating those problems," said Fred Banks, chairman of the 911 Board.

If the radios are already approved on a state contract and don't have to go out on bid, they could be in the hands of firefighters in less than two weeks, Banks said Monday.

The radios cost $500 each, and the board has authorized spending $40,000, Banks said.

The radios will allow dispatchers to put out direct calls to the firefighters, rather than having to rely on pages that don't always go through, officials said.

With the pagers, the problem is that pages sometimes wouldn't reach volunteer firefighters, but the dispatcher didn't know when that happened, Banks said.

The radios will improve that situation and also will allow the firefighters to speak to the dispatcher if a question arises, emergency officials said.

For the time being, the dispatches will be made out of the Sheriff's Office, but the board will look at whether it would be better to have all of the dispatches made from 911 headquarters in the future, Banks said.

"We have some structural problems that we need to take care of," he said. "We'll be looking at that next."

It was important for the 911 Board to come up with the money for the radio system, since many of the rural fire districts couldn't afford radios for their people, Banks said.

-- Carl Jenkins (, April 11, 2000

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