The current radios only get coverage through about 60% of the county. Sometimes in the dead spots, that means paramedics have to resort to using patient's home telephones to call dispatch with vital information.
"It's actually scary," says Levy County EMS Assistant Director Trish Seibold. "It's hard for us to not be able to not have control if something were to happen. It could put us in a serious situation."
Plus, the radios pick up chatter from other counties. Depending on the weather, it can pick up talk from more than one hundred miles away.
"That simply isn't acceptable when we're trying to do our own business and continue in our own communication," says Capt. Chuck Bastak at the Levy County Sheriff's Office. "We can't afford that because anything that's blacked out may be the information that can save somebody or get somebody into trouble."
Levy County Manager Fred Moody estimates it will take about three months to get the new radios up and running. Part of the problem is the cost. Each new radio runs between 3500-4000 dollars for a total tab of roughly 1.5 million. The county has to figure out the number of radios to order and get approved for each frequency needed from the state.
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV20 News.
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