Emergency Rescue Departments Receive Life-Saving Money - WSPA.com

Emergency Rescue Departments Receive Life-Saving Money

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First responders are getting some help with costly upgrades that could save lives. First responders are getting some help with costly upgrades that could save lives.

Talk is not cheap, especially on an 800 MHz radio. But it's what first responders across North Carolina are switching to.

“Some agencies use it on a day to day basis. Some agencies use it solely as a backup for a major incident,” said Jimmy Jones with Cedar Mountain Fire and Rescue.

Back in 2005, the state began installing an emergency communications network called VIPER.

It allows fire, rescue and law enforcement personnel to connect with each other on the same frequency no matter where they're located.

Right now, communication is limited for agencies not using VIPER.

For example: if firefighters in Tryon need backup from a nearby county, they have go through dispatch to relay the message or call, text and email themselves.

“It’s something like that, where as of now, you will in theory eventually be able to pick up a radio in the field and be able to talk whomever you need and tell them exactly what you need and how to get to you,” said Tryon Fire Chief Joey Davis.

VIPER can mean quicker response times; however, the equipment needed to utilize VIPER is expensive.

The state is paying for the infrastructure of the system, but it's up to each agency to buy their own radios.

NC Congressman Mark Meadows presented a check for $554,360 in FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant funds on Friday to Cedar Mountain Fire Rescue.

The department will share the money with 13 other agencies:

Blue Ridge Fire and Rescue, Hendersonville

Brevard Fire Department, Brevard

Brevard Rescue Squad, Brevard

Connestee Fire/Rescue, Brevard

 Etowah/Horse Shoe Fire and Rescue, Horse Shoe

Fletcher Fire and Rescue, Fletcher

Green River Fire and Rescue, Zirconia

Henderson County Rescue Squad, Hendersonville

Little River Fire Department, Penrose

North Transylvania Fire and Rescue, Pisgah Forest

Rosman Fire and Rescue, Rosman

Transylvania Emergency Communications Center, Brevard

Tryon Fire Department, Tryon.

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