Communication upgrade for first responders

Bedford, Pa. - Governor Wolf has approved a plan to revamp communications systems for first responders.

The upgrade to first responder communications spawns from a partnership between first net and at&t and has no cost to the state. Dave Cubbison from Bedford County EMA says he's worried about the cost to local departments in order to use the new system.

He explained, "My main concern, as always, is the fire, ems, law enforcement for the most part. Those three disciplines, what is the cost going to be for them to be able to participate in this new plan."

Cubbison believes this move by governor wolf was partly motivated by what happened in Hyndman. The lack of cell and broadband service forced first responders to go door to door in order to evacuate residents from their homes.

He says. "It showed not only county and state level but on the federal level what can happen to an area that does not have the proper infrastructure in place. For example, cell phone coverage, broadband coverage, non-existent for miles and miles and miles outside of the community. "

The governor's office says this should be a huge asset to rural areas because it will enhance their ability to send and share information. 

Cubbison hopes that when upgrades begin, they'll start in the areas that have the most need. 

He said, ""I'd like to see those communities footprinted first. Lets take a look at those communities. The needs of the communities that have no service now. The emergency service complement there and lets build out from there rather than build from the already established areas."

Cubbison says this is a great first step toward improving communications. He's excited to see what new technology is developed in the process. He expects this to take a couple years to come to fruition. 


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