Milford City Council recently approved a request from Carlisle Fire Company to transfer $ 100,000 from the company’s building improvement fund, which is managed by the city. The funds will be used for a variety of capital improvement products.
“We plan to purchase industrial fans for our engine bay to circulate the air for $ 12,000,” said Tor Hazzard, president of Carlisle Fire Company. “These are two industrial fans of about 14 feet. We also want to put up a perimeter fence along our back lot for $ 40,000 as that will limit our overall liability with the equipment, the practice cars we have in the back and other items. The restrooms in our banquet hall are in dire need of updating and will cost $ 10,000. The renovation of our boomer and our break room will cost $ 13,000. We want to strip and finish the engine bay floor which will cost $ 15,000 and we need to upgrade our 800 megahertz radio system which will cost $ 10,000.
Radio encryption is essential, Hazzard explained, as Milford Police Department radios now use the technology. This means that the fire company has no way of communicating with the police department by radio in an emergency. Hazzard said the goal is to have statewide encryption.
“Just to let you know, you are all familiar with our fire police,” said Lester Guyer, Carlisle Fire Company board member. “Our Fire Department not only assists the Milford Police Department, but the Town of Milford. We are there when there are blackouts, broken poles. Our firefighters are there at all hours to help the city teams. When we have occurrences the fire police help the traffic and at the moment we have no way of communicating with MPD. We have already encountered cases when working with MPD and the Town of Milford Electric where this has been a problem. It happened to us unexpectedly. We need to get this programming in our command vehicle, some devices. We did not anticipate this need.
City Councilor Brian Baer asked if the banquet hall was open to the public.
“Yes it is,” Hazzard explained. “Just to talk about this, last year we only had one event due to COVID. We just reopened and have booked until the end of the year so this is a very welcome issue. Anyone wishing to rent the building can call our administrative secretariat from Monday to Friday.
City Councilor Andy Fulton asked if there was no state funding for the encryption service.
“Absolutely not,” Guyer said. “It’s just something that happened. There was no funding available for this. I’m sure Chief Brown will confirm that we need that capacity. We understand that there have been top-down issues in the state with the release of information to the public during incidents and that is why the agencies are going to encrypt.
Fire Chief Ryan Knowles confirmed Guyer’s comment.
“It’s basically a safety issue,” Knowles said. “Not all agencies have the capacity to have their own police department in their city and the ability to communicate with them. We have always been able to do this by simply turning the knob on our radio if something goes wrong, and there have been many issues in the past that Chief Brown can probably support me on. We have used it a lot and we rely on them when responding to alarms because they can get to the scene quite quickly. We can hear in advance what we have so that we can muster additional resources if needed. This makes it safer and more efficient for the citizens of Milford. “
Councilor Fulton agreed communications between the fire company and the police department were critical.
“I think it’s great to keep it encrypted because you don’t want a lot of ‘sneaky’ and other people showing up at a scene that you don’t need,” City Councilor Fulton said. “What interested me was the Electronic Interoperability Council led by Homeland Security, they have a committee and they were paying a lot. I was on that committee and we were upgrading a lot of radios when we switched to the 800 megahertz system. Just try to keep an eye out for the different grants as they come out. Only a little food for thought. “
The request was approved unanimously.