Posted by Lisa Strawbridge - email
WOOD COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - The Lake Township Fire Department discussed inter-agency communication Tuesday at a meeting to evaluate their response during the June tornadoes.
Overall, first responders say they were pleased with the search and rescue and how the different departments worked together. "I think the way we handled the incident went real well with all the other agencies coming in," said Lake Township Fire Chief Todd Walters. "There was cooperation with all the police agencies and street departments. We couldn't have asked for anything more with that."
There is one area first responders believe was not as efficient -- communicating with all the agencies that were helping out.
The tornado wiped out the Lake Township police building and dispatch center, but they say the communication system made things worse.
Fire departments are on the Wood County radio band, but Wood County police agencies are all on their own, separate channels.
At one point, I personally was wearing three portable radios and two cell phones so we could attempt to talk to everyone who was involved," said Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer. "It worked, but it would be a lot more efficient for us to be on one radio system regionally."
Walters points out they could not communicate with the Allen-Clay joint fire district, which was one mile from their station.
Chiefs Hummer and Walters will push for a new, inter-operable radio system for Wood County. If there's a disaster or crisis, any number of agencies could go to one incident command channel.
The new radio system would be an expensive upgrade from the current system. An exact figure is not known, but it would be millions county-wide. Wood County first responders say they may look into a federal grant as one possibility of funding.
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