Va. first responders find common frequency through DHS grants

Last week, Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine announced over $5 million in State Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) funds to help local law enforcement and first responders communicate with each other during a natural or man-made disaster. The bulk of those funds will be used to complete a system of regional microwave communications towers.

Spanning eight counties and the city of Richmond, the RAMIS microwave network has been allocated $1.73 million to complete phase two of the project, which will be used by those localities to avoid the expense of using broadband telephone lines that have linked emergency responders in the region through the COMLINC network. According to the Richmond-Times Dispatch, some local governments and agencies say they can’t afford the tech upgrades needed to stay on the network, so the RAMIS will operate on a system of towers.

“It’s critical that police, firefighters and emergency workers are able to communicate with each other during emergencies,” Governor Kaine said in a statement. “These funds will help first responders acquire the interoperability they need to prevent, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and natural disasters that may impact the Commonwealth.”

The project is expected to total nearly $5 million when it is finished next summer.

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