Fed Grant Helps Triboro First Responders
The $152,000 grant will make it easier for Cinnaminson, Riverton and Palmyra to talk to Camden County fire and EMS.
Thanks to a federal grant, Cinnaminson and Camden County first responders will be able to stay in touch for the foreseeable future.
This spring, Camden County will upgrade its county communication system to 700 megahertz (MHz), while Burington County will continue to operate on 500 MHz for the next few years. That's a problem, according to Cinnaminson Fire Chief Bill Kramer, because essentially it means, "We can't talk to them, and they can't talk to us. It really is that simple."
There's ways around the problem, but they're complicated and unreliable, said Kramer.
But with the $152,000 he just got—through FEMA's Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program—he'll be able to buy portable radios that operate on both frequencies for his department, along with the fire departments in Riverton and Palmyra, and the Palmyra-Riverton-Cinnaminson Emergency Medical Service.
"This grant will not only benefit Cinnaminson, but all the emergency services in the Triboro area," Kramer said. "Interoperability is vitally important for the safety of firefighters operating from different jurisdictions at the same incident."
Burlington County is expected to upgrade to 700 MHz within the next three years, according to Kramer. Once the changeover occurs, Triboro first responders will still be able to use the new radios.
Good thing too, because at between $7,000-8,000 per radio, it's a hefty investment, said Kramer.
In order to get the grant, Cinnaminson Fire Department had to provide an $8,000 match out of its budget, he explained.
Congressman Jon Runyan (R-3), a member of the Congressional Fire Caucus, said he was happy to see the grant directly benefit communities in both Burlington and Camden counties.
"Communication on the fireground is important to the safety of citizens and firefighters alike," Runyan stated in a release. "Investing in our firefighters is an investment in our communities."