The chiefs of Barrow County Emergency Services and the Winder Fire Department last week worked out a temporary protocol for backing up fire communications if the main radio transmitter fails. The arrangement will be in place until the county completes the installation of a new wireless communication system to meet the federally mandated January 2013 deadline for narrow banding all public safety radio channels.
The chiefs clarified the protocol after the Barrow Journal last week began researching allegations in an anonymous letter from someone purporting to be a county firefighter. The March 3 letter said county emergency services chief Dennis Merrifield “several months ago” took out of service the backup base station for fire communications because he wanted to use some of its parts to repair a broken backup station for law enforcement communications.
“So now if the main fire radio goes out we have no backup,” the firefighter’s letter states. “This is against ISO requirements and could endanger lives… There needs to be an investigation before someone is hurt.”
For the full story, see the March 14 issue of the Barrow Journal e-Edition or in print.