Florence Co. looking into replacing Emergency Radio System

FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) - Florence County Emergency Management said the County's Emergency Radio System needs a dire update.

The current Emergency Radio System has been in place since the 1990's.  Police, firefighters and law enforcement are just a few of county departments who use this system daily. More than 25 departments use Emergency Radio System to serve the county.

Assistant Director of Florence County Emergency Management Thomas Sullivan said the manufacturer of the Emergency Radio System is slowly phasing out the production of parts, and that there are already some that cannot be replaced.

"We're are going to begin having issues getting those damaged boards and parts repaired and thrown back into the reserve pool, " said Sullivan.

Sullivan said the county has a small stock pile of parts, but that pile is dwindling. Sullivan said parts are mostly damaged when the radio tower is struck by lightning.

Emergency Management is currently asking Florence County Council for $13 million to switch the current analog Emergency Radio System, to a digital system. Sullivan said digital is more efficient, it provides more security for personal data that may be exchanged through the air waves and it is harder for a digital signal to be hacked.

The money needed for the updates is not a part of the Emergency Management budget.

Sullivan said the current need is not creating any hazards to current operations. Sullivan said he feels confident in county council. He added that when the need was presented to council, they noticed it was an ordeal of high importance. Council is looking into this matter. There is no date set when they will make their decision on this matter.

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