Upgrade to Springfield's emergency radio system coming soon

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. First responders in Greene County will soon have the better equipment they need to get to you during an emergency.

"This is a very, very strong step forward for us," said Don Kocian, Telecommunications Manger for City Utilities.

The entire emergency radio system and the towers to transmit their signals across Greene County is maintained by City Utilities in Springfield.

"Nobody has a computer they're still using from seventeen years ago. The manufacturers that made the equipment on the system today don't support it anymore. If something breaks we're looking for a used part to put in there," said Kocian.

The current system was put in use nearly two decades ago.

"All of the responders in the community need the system to work flawlessly to ensure the safety of the public. Continuing to make upgrades to the system is critical to public safety," said Springfield Fire Chief David Pennington.

Like many electronics we own, our cell phones, tablets and computers, the county system needs to be updated.

"The new one is an international standard, called Project 25 that, it kind of came out of the 9/11 disaster, the beltway sniper, the crash on the Hudson, where the responding agencies couldn't talk to each other. Now we're trying to solve that problem," said Kocian.

The technology will switch from analog to digital. This will open the lines of communication even more than before.

"We're not only going to be able to talk within the county, we're going to be able to talk to basically anybody in the state. This is a far more efficient and effective way for them to be able to talk to each other," explained Kocian.

This will give first responders the best tools available to get you the help you need when you need it most.

"It makes me comfortable in knowing that our radio system, which, in many municipalities, can be a weak point isn't here," said Pennington.

Council is set to vote on amending the city's budget for the new the multi-million dollar system next month.

Read the original version of this article at www.kspr.com.