Habersham County first responders will soon be able to have radio access to nearly every part of the county thanks to an approved upgrade of the emergency radio system.
The Habersham Board of Commissioners on Monday approved a request for proposal (RFP) to purchase the new system, which guarantees 95% coverage for the county.
Commissioners learned that the existing system has reached the end of its life, and in fact, replacement parts are no longer available for the current system. All first responders in Habersham County, including law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services rely on the radio system to communicate with each other in the field, receive real-time updates and stay connected to the dispatch center while responding to emergencies, so an updated system is a necessity, according to a statement released by county government officials.
"We all know we must maintain and update our communications infrastructure. It’s so important,” said 911 Director Lynn Smith in the prepared statement. "This is not a want. This is an absolute necessity. This is something that’s so important to our public safety that we just cannot overlook it.”
The bulk of the funding for the upgrade, at $7.2 million, will come from 2020 SPLOST revenue. The remaining funds will be sourced from the American Recovery Plan funding provided to Habersham County. The total cost for infrastructure is about $9.6 million.
As part of the upgrade, Habersham County plans to utilize eight towers to improve radio coverage. The towers will be located throughout the county to provide coverage to communication to all cities within the county, along with county property.
In addition to public safety department, other departments such as the Coroner's Office, the Habersham Road Department and Animal Control will also be able to use the system for communication purposes.
The statement from the county did not indicate when the upgraded system would be up and running.