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'Tweaking' helps radio system but continued expenses are a concern

LOUISBURG -- An assistant fire chief said his lines of communication have improved with the county's emergency communications director.

However, issues with the county's emergency radio system persist.

Last month, Assistant Epsom Fire Chief Dwayne Cottrell told Franklin County commissioners the county's system has been problematic -- made even more noticeable by the department's proximity to, and reliance upon Vance County's radio system, by comparison.

During that same December meeting, Emergency Communications Director Christy Shearin said she and her staff are committed to maintaining the system and are always willing to address issues when they are brought to their attention.

Cottrell said Shearin has been true to her word.

"Christy and her staff have been good with me for the last month, trying to figure out the issues, but it's happened too much," he said.

"... Every time I report an issue, someone has to go test it," he said. "We're paying money for this. It's not free.

"... When do we stop and say, hey, let's stop and look at this; how much money we're spending."

"... We just need to keep looking at solving this thing."

In December, Cottrell said he and his department noted a number of issues with the system, ranging from paging issues to an inability to communicate with a medic truck.

All of those issues were brought to Shearin's attention and addressed, Cottrell said, but it's troubling that problems continue to persist, he said.

"I know it was brought forth last time [by Mark Stone with the Bunn Fire Department] that it was only one incident that he knew of where the radio did not work when he needed it ... and that was like .5 percent, and I understand that.

"But, it's over 300 volunteer firefighters in this county," Cottrell said. "If each one of them has that just one incident, that adds up.

"If you're in an emergency situation and you need that radio, [the fact that it's just] .5 don't matter," he said. "That .5 -- you've got to have it."

What's also troubling, Cottrell said, is that he's heard from others in EMS and law enforcement who have had issues with emergency communications, but they have not brought them to the attention of Shearin or her staff.

"... Like I said before, we can either fix the radio system or, if we've got to go to something else, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

"But, if [Shearin] doesn't know about the issues, we can't go further."

Commission Chair Sidney Dunston told Cottrell that the county and its staff would monitor the situation.


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Members Opinions:
January 09, 2020 at 4:08am
Money pit.



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