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South Orange Emergency Communications in Need of Revamp

Joe Grogan

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 • 6:50am

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Village public safety services are in need of a communications overhaul, according to a presentation by representatives of RCC Consultants at Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The telecommunications firm was hired by the village in March to assess various communications needs and shortcomings in municipal systems. Its finding was that all of the village’s public safety radios are outdated.

The rescue squad, police and fire departments are all using radios that are more than 20 years old and will soon become obsolete. While the systems are all operationally sound, the drawback inherent to them all is that they do not allow for intercommunication between the departments, according to the presentation.

Because of this, the firm recommended that the village augment its existing technology with a variety of new pieces that are compatible with New Jersey Interoperability Communications Systems, which allows intercommunication among agencies not only locally, but on the regional and state levels as well. This option has the benefit of not requiring the replacement of every piece of equipment in the village’s communications system, but only a relative handful of consoles.

The village was also strongly encouraged to improve protection from lightning strikes on a number of radio antennae throughout the town.

All told, the project is expected to cost just under $640,000. The next best option, replacing every piece of communication equipment in the village’s emergency departments, would cost almost twice that amount.

Other actions taken by the Board of Trustees included:

  • Village ordinance 2014-14, amending the central business district redevelopment plan to provide additional permitted uses, was passed unanimously.
     
  • Village ordinance 2014-15, amending section 152-36 of the village code regarding parking on Rynda Road, was introduced and unanimously moved for a second reading.
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