Howard County Volunteer Fire Department Says They Need To Replace Radio Tower 12/27/13
December 27th, 2013
Big Spring, Tx
Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief Tommy Sullivan says the county needs to act quickly and replace a radio tower that collapsed in a winter storm last month.
The department is currently sharing a frequency with the Big Spring Fire Department, which Sullivan says is fine for now. However, grass fire season is just around the corner and when those fires begin, they will need their own line of communication.
The downed radio tower posses many problems to his staff already. They now have to share a radio frequency with the Big Spring Fire Department, which has a considerable amount of calls.
"My firefighters have wives and children that don't want to hear this 24 hours a day. So, they're shutting off their radios," Sullivan said.
Their tower is built to work well in the city limits, but the volunteer's tower allowed the crew to communicate throughout the county and beyond.
"From my tower I could talk from Rankin Highway to downtown Lamesa," he said.
However, those problems pale in comparison to what could happen if grass fires begin to ignite.
"It’s not a ‘we could see them’, we are going to see them," Sullivan said.
Sullivan says trying to fight grass fires on the same frequency as Big Spring EMS and the Fire Department could hinder their communication and put them in harms way.
"At some point we've had nine major fires going at the same time and with that there's no way that we can operate on the same channel as Big Spring," he said.
The County Fire Department, Sheriff’s Office and other crews shared the tower. They will meet Monday to discuss what replacement is the best for all parties involved.
Howard County Judge Mark Barr says it not a matter of if the county can afford it but what is best moving forward. He says he understands Sullivan’s concerns and they are not neglecting the Volunteer Fire Department.