Radio upgrade needs to happen soon

As fire and EMS chiefs for each of our respective communities, we recognize the Marshall County VHF radio and paging system is failing and has reached its end-of-life. This is the opinion of the Marshall County Fire Chiefs Association, EMS Chiefs, and the radio system owner and operator, RACOM.

As recently as June 22, the western half of Marshall County’s VHF system was inoperable and a page for a residential fire alarm did not alert the fire department to respond. 

During the past several months, the Marshall County Fire Chiefs Association has endeavored to gain the support and financial commitment from the Board of Supervisors to replace the VHF radio and paging system. Our association believes for the safety of those we serve, as well as the safety of our members, the radio upgrade needs to happen sooner than later.

It is with great urgency that we ask the Board of Supervisors to proceed with the infrastructure project as proposed by RACOM and approved by our public safety user community. This will allow us to immediately begin what we know is a lengthy and necessary development process. You have the full support of our membership.

Our neighboring counties — Story, Tama, and Grundy — have also either completed or are in the process of upgrading their own radio systems to move away from VHF to address safety. The majority of our membership are volunteers, who do this job for no pay and deserve a functional and reliable radio system to complete their mission. Our citizens likewise expect our public safety services to be timely, whether that is fire, EMS, or law enforcement. This infrastructure upgrade is urgent and essential for us to provide these timely services.

The members of this association are John Witte, Clemons Fire; Randy Mommer, Gilman Fire & EMS; Tom McWilliams, Green Mountain Fire; Mechiele Winters, Green Mountain EMS; Dick Stalzer, Haverhill Fire; Brad Mauseth, Legrand Fire; David Rierson, Marshalltown Fire; Robert Monroe, Melbourne Fire; Angela Gibbs, Melbourne EMS; Mike Overman, Rhodes Fire; Wendy Eldridge, Rhodes EMS; and Brad Pfantz, State Center Fire & EMS.


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