When responding to emergencies communication is key for many first responders including fire fighters.

With a large grant from the cares act the Idaho Falls Fire Department is replacing their radios to help better serve the community.

As chief Paul Radford explains,

"So, the cares grants were allocated to the cities and counties throughout the state of Idaho, from the state of Idaho through the federal government. We did our homework, found the areas where we qualified which turned into radios for us."

The grant was used to purchase 130 new radios for each individual fire fighter and administrator, with a few to spare as backups.

This comes at a great time especially during the pandemic where cross contamination can be costly for the fire department.

Chief Paul Radford says, "At the time we only have about 40 radios. Right now with COVID and the restrictions, we have to come in and decontaminate all of our radios every morning and in between uses. So, what this does is it allows us to place a radio in each members hands."

As each fire fighter has their own radio it will help keep crews safer and lessen the risk of transmitting anything through the radios.

Another feature that the new radios come with is a personal identifier, as chief Radford tells us.

"So with these radios being assigned to each personnel they have a unique identifier. So, if we have somebody have to hit their emergency button we know exactly who it is."

This is a great upgrade compared to the older radios that would only send out a distress signal that was shared among all of the fire fighters.

The new radios will also be dual band which will allow the fire department to communicate with partnering agencies such as the BLM fire fighters, Bingham county, and Madison county.


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