New radios to improve emergency communications in Hanover

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
By Phil Riggan - bio | email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - New radio techonology in Hanover county will help emergency officials save more lives.

The current communications system is outdated and doesn't always work in some of the counties more rural areas.

It may look like just a radio, but this is one of the most important tools to an emergency worker. It's their link to the outside world during an emergency situation, and if it doesn't work, a life could be lost.

You've heard it before, every second counts when it comes to an emergency. Those responding to the scene need to be able to count on communication and right now in Hanover county, that's not always the case.

"Not too long ago, I had a house fire late at night, it was in the eastern part of our county and I could not communicate using my radio, it was during a thunderstorm, we had some issues going on, and I was asking for help on my cell phone," said William Jones, Hanover County Fire & EMS, Battalion Chief.

Problem is, cell phones don't always work either, especially in some of the more rural areas. A fact that could have put Jones in a truly dangerous situation.

It's because of issues like that the county is rolling out a new $29 million radio system.

"Our radios are our lifeline, we have places our telephones won't work and we have to be able to communication...a police officer might need assistance, there may be a patient that needs more help as far as the paramedic needing to come," Jones said. "We could be in a fire and be trapped and need to radio that we need rescue, so it's definitely a lifeline and definitely a needed part of our job."

Right now, these radios are being tested in every nook and cranny of the county -- from the lowest points to highest spots, basements to rooftops. All to make sure emergency workers can communicate not only between fire, police and ems, but with other jurisdictions as well.

"I could go to someone in a collapsed trench and i could call Hanover, Henrico, Richmond or hesterfield and call for a technical rescue team just by using that radio -- immediate response," Jones said.

Hanover county emergency communications will officially cut over to this new radio system in March of next year once final testing is complete.

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