The Adair County supervisors authorized several more radios for the county’s fire departments at their meeting Wednesday, Sept. 7.
The supervisors said that the Bridgewater Fire Department reached out to them wanting more radios, but other departments around the county have also expressed that if more are made available, they would take them.
In 2020, the county underwent a comprehensive upgrade to its radio system that first responders use to talk to each other. The project was in conjunction with a statewide initiative to improve coverage and connectivity between counties, as oftentimes there are departments from multiple counties on scenes of emergencies.
When the county did the radio project, each fire department that Adair County dispatches — which includes Greenfield, Fontanelle, Orient, Bridgewater and Adair — received three mobile radios that were to go in trucks, and no handhelds. Since that initial project, Auditor Mandy Berg said Sheriff Jeff Vandewater has secured funds from elsewhere to buy a couple of additional radios for one department each year, but they were again mobile radios.
Fire departments like Bridgewater are now asking for handheld radios so that they don’t need to be in a truck to take advantage of this system.
The supervisors, with American Rescue Plan Act money that is available, decided that handheld radios should be afforded to the fire departments. They approved 12 handheld radios at a cost of up to $60,000. Two each will go to departments in Greenfield, Fontanelle, Bridgewater and Orient.
Adair, Casey, Menlo and Stuart each have approximately half of their fire district in Adair County and the other half in Guthrie County, so they will each receive one radio.