Special to the Citizens
Morgan County Emergency Services recently hosted five communications officers with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, for a tour and overview of the new upgraded Emergency 911 Communication System that was put into place earlier this year. The visitors were interested in the system and how effective it has been thus far, as they are seeking ways to improve their communication systems for public safety as well. The system was explained as a high band radio system which has “greatly increased radio coverage for all Public Safety agencies for Morgan County. This is inclusive for Morgan County Fire, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, and entities in the City of Madison including Fire and Police, and National EMS,” according to Mark Melvin, Morgan County Fire Chief. The group was given a tour of the actual site of the main communication hub, or master site, and got to see an actual tower at the receiver site. They were offered explications of improvements in effectiveness as well as a comparison between the older and the newer radio system. It was explained that there was an increase in digital repeaters and talk paths that can all be used simultaneously. This allows several agencies (fire, sheriff, etc.) to have multiple talk groups operating at the same time without interruption. This also allows for mobile data and GPS to be utilized. The radio site has a building that allows for surge protection and for backup batteries and generators in the event of a power failure. It was explained that the high band system uses three channels with six talk paths which utilize two sites located throughout the county, aiding in more effective communication which results in faster responses of public safety personnel and a greater service to all of the people in Morgan County. It also was explained that the is a monitoring system which is Windows based and it monitors, records, analyzes and filters all of the voice and traffic data on the system. The system itself monitors those accessing the system, and notifies E-911 by sight, sound, email, and text if there is a problem.