“Radio communications in the county emergency system will have to be updated over the next five years to keep up with technology.” said Spenser Suter head of EMS and assistant county administrator. He presented a plan, much of it due to FCC mandates, that will upgrade the technology on the county’s seven channel system. He told the Board of Supervisors that the channels cover three for fire and rescue, two for the Sheriff’s Department, one school channel for buses and vehicles and one broadband multi use channel. In 2113, the FCC mandate will eliminate the broadband widths and have them divided into two narrow band channels.
Other interesting facts about the EMS Radio system:
- The Botetourt System is 450 megahertz UHF because of the mountainous terrain.
- There are 800 radios used by EMS personnel and the schools and 400 pagers for volunteers to be alerted to come to the stations on the system in Botetourt County.
- There are 5 towers in use throughout the county for the system.
- Over fiver years it will cost an approximate $880,000 to upgrade the system.
- A new radio control console is ready to be installed and it is being paid for with an 80/20 grant with the grant providing $124,000 and the county $36,000.
- Using the Emergency Command Center trailer and the radio communications system, communications can be established with other localities no matter the channels.