KENNETCOOK: Communications for EHS, firefighters, ground search and rescue, and RCMP in rural areas, like Gore and the Hants North area, will be improving thanks to a $1.6 million investment from the province.

Announced on April 13 at the Kennetcook Fire Hall, Hants West MLA Chuck Porter, on behalf of Internal Services Minister Labi Kousoulis, announced the province is adding four new radio towers to the network used by public safety agencies and volunteers. Those include the Bell Aliant radio tower at 4380 Highway 354 in East Gore.

Other locations for the new radio towers will include: River John; Port Mouton, Queens Co.; and Springhill, Cumberland Co. The range for coverage is about 35 kilometres from the tower site.

“Trunked mobile radio allows us to work safely and effectively with other emergency services,” said Don Hughes, deputy chief with Noel & District Volunteer Fire Department. “It’s always good news when the geographical coverage of this critical system is expanded.

“It’s a good investment.”

The province maintains TMR2, the mobile radio system used by public safety agencies and volunteers in the Maritimes, which serves approximately 20,000 users. That user list includes police, fire, ambulance, ground search and rescue, municipal emergency management offices, the RCMP, and three levels of government. It currently has 90 fixed sites province-wide.

“It’s a great system from where we used to be,” said Porter. “TMR2 has become very simple to use.”

Porter said the new towers will help emergency responders with coverage areas they have had challenges with.

“All first responders will see much better coverage with the new radio towers,” he said. “We’re using Bell mobility towers, that’s where the hardware and technology will go. By doing this, we don’t have to go through all the work of putting up more towers.”

Kennetcook Fire chief Steven White concurred.

“The biggest issue we’ve had is initial contact.,” he said. “There’s been a couple times I’ve had to run down here (to the hall) and call in on the land-line and tell them we were coming because coverage in that area was not that great.”

Porter said there are 20,000 public safety users in the province, so the new radio towers will be a welcome addition for them.

“We’re the first in many jurisdictions to get involved in this kind of technology across North America,” said Porter.

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Patrick Healey
Pat has grown up in East Hants, having called Milford, and now Enfield home. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2001, and has spent time at newspapers in NL and Alberton and Summerside, PEI before becoming a reporter/photographer at The Weekly Press/The Laker in October 2008. He has a rescue kitty named Asha that is much loved—and spoiled. Pat is also our "social engagement guru." Check him out on twitter!