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Emergency responders pleased radio network will be improved

Belleville Fire Deputy Chief Paul Patry, Prince Edward County Fire Chief Scott Manlow, Quinte West Fire Chief John Whelan, Belleville Police Chief Ron Gignac and Hastings Quinte EMS Chief Doug Socha listen as Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith announces the province’s plans to upgrade the public safety radio communications network.

Local emergency responders, including Prince Edward County Fire Chief Scott Manlow, were pleased to hear the Ontario government’s plan to modernize the Public Safety Radio Network that they rely on during emergencies.

Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith made the announcement at the Hastings Quinte Paramedic Services office in Belleville Friday morning.

“Modernizing this network is long overdue,” said Smith. “Our front-line and emergency responders deserve to have reliable, modern tools and resources in place to do their jobs and have our system in line with the North American Standard.”

The multi-faceted project is being designed to ensure Ontario’s more than 38,000 front-line and emergency responders – including OPP police officers, paramedics and hospital staff, fire services, provincial highway maintenance staff, as well as enforcement and correctional officers – can count on the communications infrastructure, network and equipment they need when responding to emergencies.

“Paramedics use this radio network every day to relay vital lifesaving information to receiving hospitals. Improving this network is essential to ensure time critical decisions are made in support of patient care,” said Doug Socha, Chief, Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services.

“Ontario’s Public Safety Radio Network is one of the largest in North America and yet one of the last not to comply with the North American standard,” said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. “The daily service outages experienced with the network compromise our front-line and emergency responders’ ability to react to emergencies and put the safety of the public at risk.”

The modernization project plans include:
– Rebuild the network’s aging infrastructure (telecommunications towers, antennae, shelters and technology) that provides essential public safety radio coverage across the province
– Provide front-line and emergency responders as well as their dispatchers with the state-of-the-art radio equipment and consoles they need to manage calls and ensure the right responders get to the right place with the right information at the right time
– Provide maintenance services to restore network connection and repair equipment for a duration of 15 years

The new network is expected to be fully operational by 2023, with new service phased in by 2021.

Filed Under: Local News

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