The city of Springfield has upgraded radios and the communication system used by first responders.

Springfield spends $2.3M on new radios, system upgrade

The city of Springfield has purchased more than 400 new Motorola radios for law enforcement, fire and public works employees for emergency call-handling, command and control, and land mobile radio communications.

In addition to the acquiring the new radios, the city also purchased a new radio system, bringing the total system upgrade to $2.3 million, according to Valerie Lough, Community Information Coordinator with the City of Springfield.

The money used to purchase the radios and new system was from the city’s general funds, Lough said.

“Although the city purchased the radios and system from now on the state will be in charge of maintaining them,” Lough said.

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Paul Hicks, Emergency Services Manager with the City of Springfield, said the devices were much needed.

“The new devices perform exponentially better than the previous system. We are very pleased with the reliability and clarity of these systems,” Hicks said.

The previous radio system Springfield was operating under was installed in 2000. The new radios are wholly owned and maintained by the city and Clark County, whereas the radio system is maintained by the state of Ohio.

The new radios are wire-lined directly into the Ohio MARCS statewide ASTRO 25 system.

The high-functioning MARCS (multi-agency radio communication systems) radio units are becoming the standard across the nation.

The system allows for the police, fire and rescue from different jurisdictions to communicate on one channel. This allows for mass communication in emergencies, which is a core component of Ohio’s emergency management plan.

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As of Sept. 2018, half of Clark County operated on the MARCS system. In the same month, Clark County received a $37,000 grant from the county’s State Homeland Security Program Special Project Grant in order to purchase 13 MARCS systems radios, along with batteries, mics and charging stations.

Those 13 radios were distributed to the following departments: Harmony Twp. Fire Department (3), Pitchin Village Fire Department (3), Pike Twp. Fire Department (3), Pleasant Twp. Fire Department (3) and Hustead EMS (1.)

Mike Combs, 911 Coordinator for Clark County, said Springfield joining the MARCS system allows Clark County to communicate more efficiently.

“We are excited to have all Clark County agencies join the statewide MARCS system,” said Combs. “Being on the same network is another step toward direct and efficient communication among first responders in our state.”

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