E-T Staff Report

Erath County Fire & EMS communications just took a huge leap forward. Several grants and some funding from Erath County made this leap possible.

Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue was awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant from FEMA to upgrade our communications system. The total amount awarded was $91,700 with a percent match required from the county, meaning FEMA anted up $87,115 of the total purchase.

According to ECVFR Fire Coordinator Chris Gable, the county was able to make substantial upgrades to the departments, county-wide radio communications system that is used by all county fire departments and county emergency medical services.

"A new repeater system was installed at our main tower site on CR 257. This site serves as the main communication hub for Erath County fire departments and EMS," a recent press release from ECVFR states. "A new base station radio was installed in the 911 Dispatch Center to replace the old and outdated radio the dispatchers where using."

In another recent grant award, the Cross Timbers Emergency Response Team received a $7,000 grant from JP Morgan Birdie Hartsough Frey Memorial Foundation to purchase a repeater for the Morgan Mill area.

"After some discussion between CTERT, ECVFR, ECEMS, and Erath County officials, it was agreed that Erath County would assist with the project and link this site to our main site in Stephenville," the press release says.

Erath County contributed $8,050 to complete the project.

Since completion, communications capabilities in the northern areas of Erath County from the Huckabay/Hannibal area in the North West to the Bluff Dale area in the East have been greatly improved which previously was non existent in many portions of this area, according to Gable

Through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant, Erath County VFR was able to purchase 11 mobile radios and 20 handheld radios. The mobile radios have replaced previous outdated and underpowered radios in department's fire trucks and command center.

"The handheld radios are being issued to members to enhance our day to day communications," Gable said. "Until now, we have not had handheld radios to issue to our personnel."

All of the equipment purchased meets the new Project 25 federal standards and are capable of operating in both analog and digital modes. In addition, all of the newly-purchased equipment can be used in future county-wide communications upgrades which is projected to save taxpayers $87,115 when the upgrades are complete.

"Without receiving these grants to purchase this equipment, we likely would not be in the position to obtain this state of the art, top of the line equipment any time soon if ever," Gable said. "We would like to thank the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, FEMA, the JP Morgan Birdie Hartsough Frey Memorial Foundation, and Erath County for making these much needed upgrades possible."

Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue

830A East Road P.O. Box 472

Stephenville, Texas 76401