Firefighters in Craighead Co. to get equipment upgrades

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Craighead County firefighters have not only had to battle blazes for many years but problems with their radio systems as well.

Now, the Craighead County E-911 system has a backup system that allows firefighters and first responders to have better communications in emergency situations.

The upgrades include three points of contact that will allow dispatchers to reach firefighters. Typically, dispatchers have had to leave their console and walk over to a radio to speak with firefighters.

The updated equipment is a short-term solution to the problem, E-911 director Jeff Presley said Thursday. However, the long-term solution may be expensive.

But, Presley said the system is needed to help firefighters and first responders.

"Make sure that we can hear those guys across the river, one of our weakest points is eastern Craighead County," Presley said. "You get to the St. Francis River, Lake City, Monette, Caraway, that area, sometimes on the radio, all you get is static."

The upgraded equipment should be installed by Dec. 1, while the system completely working by early December.

Presley said grants would be needed to help pay for a permanent fix to the problem.

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