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Bucks County approves county wide emergency radios

By Emily Thiel, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 21 2013 06:38:39 PM CST

Bucks County Commissioners approved a contract for emergency communications in Bucks County to allow communication to flow more smoothly from the north to the south.

Currently, the county has two separate zones for communications for emergency departments like fire, police and ambulance. The design separates the northern and southern regions of the county; 10 simultaneous conversations can occur in the north, 12 simultaneous conversations in the south. With the technology the single zone provides, 22 conversations can happen at once without a shift in zones while driving through the county.

The new technology allows for a more efficient use of the channels the emergency responders can access in multiple emergency situations, opening up more lines of communication.

A unanimous vote from Commissioners approved a contract with Motorola Solutions in the amount not to exceed $3,323,658.  The original request for proposal (RFP) was in the amount of $37 million.

Audrey Kenny, deputy director of emergency communications for Bucks, told Commissioners that the single zone system would have been the desired choice when the contract was signed in 2011 but the technology was still being developed. "It provides us with a great system capacity for the 700 MHz range that we are building," Kenny said.

The design is more simplistic, making it easier for technicians to maintain and system users to navigate.

"This is an opportunity for us to get to the next level in the system, if we were to do this at a later date it would cost more," Robert Loughery, Commissioner chair stated, "[This system will] bring us into alignment with some of the technologies that weren't there two years ago."

"This will help us better provide for users in the field," Kenny stated.