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Westmoreland

Nearly $900K in upgrades ordered for Westmoreland emergency system

| Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, 5:51 p.m.
Swift water rescuers works to evacuate the last of the animals and residents along the Sewickley Creek in Lowber on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Swift water rescuers works to evacuate the last of the animals and residents along the Sewickley Creek in Lowber on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018.

Westmoreland commissioners on Thursday approved more than $868,000 in upgrades for the county’s emergency response system, a move officials said will ensure that police, fire and ambulance crews will have new and working radio equipment for the next seven years.

Two maintenance contracts with Motorola Solutions of Chicago, one for more than $225,000 and another totaling nearly $642,000, will cover repair and replacement of outdated equipment through 2025.

“We have thousands of first responders who depend on our radio system. It’s important it stays up to date,” said public safety Director Roland Mertz.

Commissioners in 2015 authorized a $10 million project to replace the emergency radios and 26 transmission towers that service Westmoreland County. A 27th tower was added last year to improve communications in the Ligioner Valley area, Mertz said.

That equipment remained under warranty until this year. The deals with Motorola will cover all required repairs and allow for older radios and other pieces of equipment to be updated with current models if they become available.

Commissioners said the additional expense is justified to ensure the first responders and the public are protected.

“This week has been a reminder of the value of emergency responders. We owe it to them that they have top-of-the-line equipment,” said Commissioner Ted Kopas.

Commissioners said the recent heavy rains and flooding, as well as more rain predicted for the coming days, have pushed first responders into the spotlight.

“With the weather, we’ve seen it brings to the fore just how important this is. We have to keep it on the front lines and make it as modern as it can be,” Commissioner Charles Anderson said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact at Rich at 724-830-6293 .

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