Although no money has been appropriated for an 800 megahertz emergency communications system for police, fire and medic units in Carroll County, an application for the new frequencies has been approved by Region 20 of the Federal Communications Commission.
Howard S. "Buddy" Redman Jr., chief of the bureau of emergency operations, told the county commissioners of the approval during the scheduled Department of General Services meeting with Commissioners Elmer Lippy and Julia Walsh Gouge yesterday.
The radio system update committee was authorized to submit the application by the commissioners to seek the frequencies, which are in high demand and short supply. Many requests have been submitted for the limited number of frequencies available, FCC officials said.
County officials who work with the existing communications system and almost daily witness its limited abilities have been studying the feasibility of replacing or upgrading the equipment.
The commissioners were told in April that it would cost more than $6 million to replace the entire communications system with an 800 MHz system, and about the same amount to replace selected equipment, some installed in the 1950s, with newer equipment that still would not correct problems of many dead spots -- areas where emergency vehicles cannot be heard -- around the county.
Mr. Redman said that after approval of the application and assignment of the requested frequencies, the application is forwarded to the National Public Safety Licensing Office and the Associated Public Communications Office, which will coordinate the assigned frequencies to check for conflict or duplication in the area.
The chief of emergency operations said the application is then sent to the FCC in Gettysburg, Pa., for final approval. No date has been set for approval but it could take six months or longer, Mr. Redman said.
If the county does not appropriate the money, it would lose the assigned frequencies.