SIDNEY – The state of Ohio has awarded $3 million to fire departments throughout the state. More than $190,000 was awarded in Shelby County. The grants will be used for Multi-Agency Radio Communications Systems (MARCS).
“(The) city of Sidney is in the process of getting ready to switch over to the statewide system of MARCS. By the fire marshal awarding grants to the volunteer departments of the county, it will allow them to purchase MARCS radios to maintain our radio communication interoperability across city borders so that we can still talk to them,” said Sidney Fire Chief Brad Jones.
MARCS is in the process of being utilized statewide.
“It will enhance our ability to talk with other groups throughout the state. It will aid with mutual aid and during a natural disaster with helping other groups,” said Botkins Fire Chief Pat FullenKamp.
Other grants were awarded in the area. In Miami County, all county and city law enforcement agencies along with all county wide fire and emergency medical service agencies and most if not all city public works departments are also migrating to the MARCS network soon; following a year-long project to migrate their existing radio system into the state-wide network.
In Darke County, emergency first responders also received State Fire Marshal grant money this year totaling $606,220.46 and have also initiated a process to migrate their emergency first responders onto the state-wide radio network, which includes the $500,000 Capital Safety Grant received last year to for a new MARCS tower near Union City, Ohio.
County awards are as follows:
• Botkins Fire Department $32,920
• Fort Loramie Community Fire Company $24,437
• Jackson Center Fire Department $20,496
• Kettlersville-Van Buren Fire Department $23,044
• Lockington Vol Fire Department $40,000.00 Maplewood Vol Fire Department $15.966.60
• Port Jefferson Community Fire Company $49,722.50
These awards will assist the statewide first responders to be able to communicate whether it be in response to a local emergency or a statewide disaster.
“It’s great that they’re putting the funds out there to help us achieve some of these goals,” said Fullenkamp.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.