EMA radio system gets A+ reviews

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

Beeeeeeeeeep. This is a test, only a test. Well, not exactly.

Lawrence County Emergency Services' new JPS Interconnect communications system had been field tested but last weeks' presidential visit was something that could never be simulated.

The communications system includes an antennae tower and a control grid that will allow any governmental, emergency services, utility and other public agencies to communicate with each other without having special radio equipment.

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Emergency Services Director Don Mootz said the equipment worked perfectly and helped the dozens of governmental services, law enforcement and fire protection agencies protect more than 70 intersections during President George W. Bush's visit and trip through Lawrence County.

"It worked great. That was our first real test for it," Mootz said. "Everyone knew what everyone else was doing and where everyone was at."

Sheriff Tim Sexton agreed that the system was a tremendous help.

"It was great to be able to monitor all the agencies. We were all able to monitor the progress through our radios and our portables," Sexton said. "No doubt it increased the responsibility and security we could provide."

While the equipment was a tremendous help, the sheriff said it was the people that really made the event go so smooth.

"What made it work so well was that it was a cooperative effort," Sexton said. "They set the meetings, people came to the meetings, got an assignment and did their assignment. Everyone did what they were asked to do."

In May,

the EMA/911 office added the system that includes five antennae to the communications tower on top of the building that houses the EMA/911 offices.

The Lawrence County Homeland Security Committee paid for the project with $39,500 in federal anti-terrorism funds. To date, the Lawrence County Committee for Domestic Preparedness and Homeland Security, formed in May 2003, have received more than $700,00 in grants.