Radio upgrade for Bryan County first responders - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Radio upgrade for Bryan County first responders

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New 9-1-1 upgraded tower was opened to the public Friday New 9-1-1 upgraded tower was opened to the public Friday

DURANT, Okla. -- When Bryan County was torn apart by that EF-3 tornado last month, first responders were on scene in minutes,thanks to the county's upgraded communications tower.

Oklahoma state Sen. David Bullard (R-District 6) was one of the attendees at Friday's open house for the new tower.

"One of those things that showed us and this tragedy that we need to have those areas covered," he said. 

County Commissioner Ron Boyer said the emergency communications radio signal now has a longer range and better quality, which helped first responders communicate the night of the storm.

"The older gear would have a fluttering affect it would have static," Boyer said. "This radio system here has much tighter filtering so that people can respond to it a lot easier."

The tower structure belongs to Southeastern Electric Co-Op. The county's radio antenna was added to the top, along with an equipment trailer at the bottom.

"Safety is the main thing we have in mind, and we need to communicate with our linemen," said SEC spokesman Jim Coleman. "As we radio each other, we need to know what's hot, what's energized. During storm restoration work, this becomes extremely important."

Philadelphia Fire Chief Ron Parks and other firefighters helped fund the equipment, and they notice the difference.

"When you're out there in the back roads, radio is the most important factor," Parks said. "You can communicate with your other guys or with the communication center."

Boyer said he hopes the upgrade will help save lives, and and he hopes to add two more radio communication towers in Bryan County in the near future.

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