CHAMPION, Ohio (WKBN) – Two dozen Trumbull County fire departments will get new communication systems soon, all paid for by a federal grant.
The grant will help fire departments switch over to Ohio’s Multi-Agency Radio Communication System, better known as MARCS, which will improve their communications during an emergency.
“They’re the ones who put their lives on the line for us. It’s nice to be able to make sure they have the technology and equipment that they need,” said Rep. Tim Ryan.
Joined by fire chiefs from across Trumbull County, Ryan presented a $2.4 million check from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program to help fire departments in northeast Ohio.
Many police departments in the county have already or are in the process of transitioning to MARCS.
“If we can all get on the same page and programming. We have a couple programming issues we have to work through but overall the theory behind it is more interoperability,” said Champion Fire Chief John Hickey.
“It allows us to come to the same playing field to communicate for any incident that we might have,” said Howland Fire Chief James Pantalone.
“They did a fantastic job here locally — being on the cutting edge, wanting the technology — but having the teamwork necessary to actually get the grant. So kudos to the leadership here in Trumbull County,” Ryan said.
Each of the 24 departments will have to cover the cost of the monthly service fee for MARCS.
Hickey said all of the departments should be on the new system by the end of the year.