Mt. Pleasant Fire Department updates radio equipment

Quick and efficient communication is crucial to any first responder and for the City of Mt. Pleasant’s fire department, outdated equipment made the task more challenging.

To someone outside of the system, having the most up-to-date equipment may not seem so crucial, City of Mt. Pleasant Assistant Fire Chief, Doug Lobsinger says it does make a big difference.

“It's critical, and it's not just getting the address, but it's also important to get critical information about what is the nature of the emergency, how many people are involved, and what really is the emergency,” he says. “The earlier we know this type of information, the earlier we can pull and get the right resources and route to that scene.”

After experiencing consistent interference with radio communications, the Federal Communications Commission had to redevelop the 800 MHZ band, or wave of communication, in order to separate commercial communication from that of public safety and first responders.

The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation (MPACF) provided a grant of over $26,000 to the fire department to help with the purchase of the new radio equipment. The Community Impact Fund, the Denison Unrestricted Fund, the Hersee Family Fund, the Isabella Bank Director Memorial Fund, and the William and Janet Maar Strickler Community Impact Fund all contributed to MPACF’s grant.

According to the MPACF, the funds are designated to “replace the current VHF radios with 800 MHZ radios that would tie the department into the State of Michigan communication system and allow for maintained communications with Central Dispatch.”

Once the funds were received, the department was able to purchase about four and a half new radios, according to Lobsinger. He says replacing the outdated equipment has been an extreme help to the department and that they are excited to be selected for the funding.

“We thought that was awesome,” he says. “It's something that we've looked at trying to do for a number of years, but just haven't been able to do it for budgetary reasons.”

Not only will the funds aid the department in communication with the state, but they’ll help to better serve the community that the department aims to serve. In the past, Lobsinger says there have been times where communication was rough, and the department has misheard or misunderstood information that dispatch is trying to get across. He says that now, it won’t be a problem.

“This equipment has a lot of high-tech technology in it, and I think we're only using a very small fraction of it, which gives us a lot of options for expansion and improvement of communications throughout the upcoming years,” he says.
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Riley Connell is a senior at Central Michigan University majoring in journalism and minoring in broadcast and cinematic arts. She has written for CMU's student-run publication Grand Central Magazine for two years and is now the editor-in-chief. After obtaining her degree, Riley would like to become a full-time feature writer. In her free time, Riley enjoys listening to music, trying new food, and collecting vintage clothing. She grew up in Metro Detroit and currently resides in Mt. Pleasant.