Three local fire departments are weeks away from getting a new radio system to help them communicate faster in the line of fire.
Lake Township, Northwood and Allen-Clay fire departments often team up to tackle fire and medical calls. Officials said it was only right to team up to net a government grant for a radio system to make the lines of communication clearer and the fight to save lives quicker.
Nearly three years ago, a tornado whipped through Lake Township killing seven people and destroying homes, as well as the high school. The three departments on the front lines of cleaning up that mess are getting new tools to aid them in daily operations or unthinkable disaster.
"When we had the tornado, we were barely able to communicate from one side of the township to the other, due to the communications being torn apart at the dispatch center at the police department," explained acting chief Mike Hornyak.
Not only did communication in Lake Township go down, but fire departments and police were on separate channels. Communication and the township were a wreck.
"We couldn't even respond to talk to them, to let them know what they were coming into. We pretty much had to wait for them to get on scene to fill them in, to let them know what we needed in terms of taking care of patients," said Hornyak.
In about a month and a half, Northwood, Lake Township, and Allen-Clay will all be on the same page thanks to a grant worth more than $480,000 from Homeland Security and FEMA. It could help save minutes in response time, and most likely, lives.
"Potentially, things will be a little faster. We won't have to wait when we need to call for additional resources, when their coming in, we won't have to wait until they get on the scene to start communicating with them," said Hornyak.
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