GREEN  At the start of 2017, the Green Fire Department had already budgeted more than $375,000 to purchase 800 MHZ radios this year, in order to comply with a Federal deadline of Aug. 20.

A successful third attempt at a regional Department of Homeland Security, Assistance to Firefighters Grant, for the purchase of new radios, however, has resulted in the department receiving an upgraded model of radio, with only a $58,800 local match.

"What we were getting, we could get by with," said Fire Capt. Doug Cincurak, who worked with Chief Jeffrey Funai and Lt. Brad Hemphill on the grant project. "We will be returning those radios, since we can do more with the three-band ones (obtained through the grant)."

The $898,230 regional grant was awarded to the cities of Green and New Franklin, the village of Clinton and Coventry Township, for the purchase of new P25 Technology radios, which are compatible with all Summit County emergency response agencies.  

Green City Council voted unanimously to accept the grant at its June 13 meeting.

The effort is part of a Federal mandate that safety services upgrade from the former P-16 system to a P-25 system, Funai said, enhancing interoperability between departments during an emergency. It is surprising – and all too common - Funai said, that in the event of a natural disaster, members of some departments literally cannot speak with members of other departments due to incompatible communications systems.

"Through our partnership with the Summit/Akron 800 MHz Regional Radio System, we are under a mandate to upgrade our radio technology by the end of 2017 to ensure public safety in the event of a regional emergency," said Funai said of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant, administered by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. "This grant was critical because the upgrade is a significant investment for our community.  These new radios keep us up to date with current technology and give us the interoperability we need."

The grant requires each community to contribute 10 percent in matching funds for a total amount of $81,657 toward the purchase of the radios. The city of Green is purchasing 60 portable or personal radios and 30 mobile truck radios with the grant monies.  

This is the second grant associated with communications upgrades that the city and its neighboring fire departments have received in recent months.

In the fall of 2016, Green, in partnership with Coventry Township, was awarded a Local Government Safety Capital Grant through the State of Ohio Development Services Agency. That $332,579 grant was used to purchase three MCC-7500 P25 radio dispatch consoles for the City of Green dispatch center. 

Both Green and Coventry Township were awarded $100,000 with a required match of $10,859.67 to purchase two of the consoles.  The third console was purchased by the city of Green Fire Division for $110,859.67.  

"Through these two grants the city of Green has been able to upgrade all of our radios by leveraging our regional partnerships to better serve our community," said Funai.