The Hotchkiss Fire Protection District has made advancements in communicating with other emergency first responders. Last year, thanks to a 50-50 federal grant, the district installed Radio Gateway into their Comm-
CommPost, which stands for Command Post and Communications Center, is housed in an old ambulance donated by the West Elk Mine.
Emergency agencies use different radios, VHF or 800. Fire departments and federal agencies rely on VHF radios while the Sheriff's Office, State Patrol and state agencies use 800 DTRS (Digital Trunk Radio System) radios.
Gateway syncs the two different radio systems together so everyone can listen and communicate between the various emergency agencies.
"The key word is interoperability," Hotchkiss Fire Chief Doug Fritz said.
When the tragedies at Columbine High School, 9/11, Katrina and others locally like the Wake Fire happened, agencies could not talk to one another.
"This is one of the tools we can use to get people to talk to one another on short notice," explained assistant fire chief Steve Schroder.
Fritz added, "We can show up and just make it all work. Whereas, if you are trying to work it out on the scene and get everyone to move their radios [to one system], we're too busy. So now we can just do it."
The Gateway Radio is user friendly. When the Hotchkiss Fire District ordered one, it was the first one of the newer models to be built. The newer arrangements of components balance the different radio systems just right.
Their unit can connect three 800 systems and three VHS systems simultaneously.
"We've gotten a lot of positive response from Montrose County, BLM. We're getting a series of [high detail] maps made by Delta and Montrose counties so that when we show up we can set up a map display," Fritz said.
The unit will be available to assist throughout the West Region which includes Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, Hinsdale, San Miguel and Ouray counties.blog comments powered by Disqus