Radio coverage expanding for BIVFD

Block Island’s first responders have led the effort to interconnect all the town government’s departments with one another using a single digital VHF two-way radio system. Now, as the Block Island Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department plans an addition to the system to improve coverage and reduce the number of “dead zones” with little or no reception, the Department is also planning to ask the town to reimburse them for the cost of the new equipment, and to contribute to the system’s operating costs in the annual budget.
The BIVFD members voted unanimously at their Nov. 18 meeting to spend up to $38,000 to purchase and install a “satellite receiver” at the Block Island School. It would be connected to the fiber optic cable of the recently activated Community Anchor Institutions network as the “first deployment” of an expanded radio communications system, said Howell Conant, the department’s Communications Officer.
Currently, all incoming calls from the handheld radios in the field must reach the central antennas at the Public Safety Building to be heard and responded to. Terrain and other factors in parts of the island block the signal from those low-power devices,

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