Last week’s ice storm highlighted need for Smiths Falls dispatch radio replacement

ice storm
Posted on: April 12, 2023

During Tuesday evening’s Committee of the Whole meeting in Smiths Falls, Fire Chief Rick Chesebrough took a moment to thank the Fire Department, dispatchers, and volunteers who helped out during the recent ice storm. 

During the storm, which knocked out power and downed trees in Eastern Ontario and Quebec, Smiths Falls dispatch received 163 emergency 911 calls, and 253 non-emergency calls for problems such as trees down or roads partially blocked.

Emergency Services experienced two power outages, and their system crashed twice. Because of the ice, four communications towers were down throughout the county.

Three full-time dispatchers were working at once, and 1270 radio transmissions were sent and received during the storm. Three vehicles were equipped with a full complement of staff, and there were two stand-by members of staff at the ready.

Chief Chesebrough expressed his appreciation for the hard work and dedication of his team. “An outstanding job [was] done by each and every one of the firefighters who responded that day.”

Mayor Pankow inquired about the four communications towers that were brought down during the storm: “Does this raise any red flags?” 

“Yes,” replied Chief Chesebrough, “and it brought to light the age of some of the equipment on these towers.”

The Fire Department had already been seeking to replace the dispatch system and to bring it in line with the Next Generation 911 plan proposed by the province.  Having received two applications, and having experienced the need for the replacement first hand, Chesebrough proposed awarding Intertalk Information Systems with the RFP to replace the dispatch radio system.

Intertalk’s replacement will cost slightly more than $400,000. The town has already planned for this cost in its 2023 capital budget.

Article by Janelle Labelle

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News