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Island’s Fire, EMS Squads to Field New Radios With Grant Funding

A firefighter communicates on a radio. (Credit: National Interagency Fire Center/ Flickr)

A firefighter communicates on a radio. (Credit: National Interagency Fire Center/ Flickr)

Three island communities will make the switch to new radios, in line with a federal mandate, thanks to a grant obtained through Seaside Heights.

“The county switched over to a different frequency, and right now we’re kind of struggling,” said Seaside Heights Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz. “We’re using borrowed radios, and this will fix that problem.”

Emergency services radiofrequency spectrum was reassigned several years ago by the Federal Communications Commission in order to open up additional spectrum for 5G networking. While police departments have already completed the change, several volunteer squads, with less access to funding, had been using radios borrowed from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department.

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With Seaside Heights acting as the lead agency, the new radios will be obtained with $428,980 in grant funding for the Seaside Heights Fire Department, Lavallette Fire Department and EMS, and Tri-Boro EMS.

The grant was obtained through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters grant program.

“We try to do it as a combined grant so we have a more attractive application,” said Seaside Heights Councilman Rich Tompkins, who is also a volunteer firefighter. “It’s a nice thing when you can save the town so many thousands of dollars.”

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