The Bethel Emergency Management Director is proposing the town purchase portable radios for the Fire Department. The Board of Selectmen recommended that the Board of Finance approve up to $400,000 for the 74 handheld radios. That panel signed off on the plan this week.
This would be enough to cover both Bethel and Stony Hill Volunteer Fire companies and a few for the Fire Marshal's Office. The current emergency communication devices are about 15 years old. There were two bids and the Fire Commission recommended going with Motorola. There's a $15,000 difference between the two bids, but they decided to go with the higher once since it's a vendor they've been using. The other brand is primarily for military use and has less use among the fire service.
There were also some concerns about the function of the mayday button and having to physically reset it in order to communicare on that channel. The new radios will be able to withstand higher temperatures, have a channel selector, and an emergency button.
Emergency Management Director Tom Galliford says he applied to FEMA for their Assistance to Firefighter grant three times and has been denied all three times. The first was because the age of the radios were not old enough. The second and third times were because the scoring didn't add up enough to show financial need.