WINNSBORO – Fairfield County will buy 27 new mobile radios for the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office at a cost of $117,831, following a recommendation last week by the county administrator.
County Administrator Milton Pope, in his report to council last week, explained that the purchase of 31 radios had been approved in the budget process for fiscal year 2015-16.
“However, two factors changed the number of radios we are purchasing,” he said. “One factor is that there was an increase in the pricing for the radios and then actually four of the radios that we are going to get had to have encryption information on them.”
The county is expected to replace 31 more radios as planned next fiscal year. Pope explained to council that time was of the essence in making the purchases.
“All of these have to be switched out before December 2016. We were able to split these over two fiscal year periods to be mindful of our overall budget,” he said. “I believe this is a life safety issue for the sheriff’s department. It is certainly a very reasonable request and we ask for your favorable approval.”
Council approved the request unanimously.
In other business at last week’s meeting, council also unanimously approved the purchase of a computerized, full-simulation manikin for Fairfield County EMS. The kits contain one full adult with both medical and trauma capability, one pediatric manikin and one half adult airway specialty mannequin for intubating.
“These manikins meet or exceed the national standard for simulation manikins and scenario training,” Pope told council. “They are very life like and computer controlled and will enhance our training capabilities to ensure national standard compliance and to better prepare our crews for real life situations.”
The kit comes with audiovisual equipment for full scenario evaluation, 12-lead wireless EKG simulator, three year warranty, laptop computer, and one day of staff training.
The cost will be $115,000, Pope said, but stressed to council that the upfront cost is well worth it.
“We have existing no such simulation equipment now and the cost to send our people, a group of 15 to Palmetto Richland, which is the closest location for training on their simulation manikins, would be approximately $5,000 for just one class,” he said.
The county provides a minimum of six different 16-hour training classes each year.
“Just as a refresher, I remember one of the work sessions, one of the questions asked by members of council regarding partnering with other entities and that was some of the information I repeated to you,” he said. “The cost of transporting our folks, this just seems to be a more cost effective option where we can get more training. A lot of our transports actually deal with taking patients from Fairfield to the regional hospitals. And of course, this would help with life safety measures.”
Pope also provided an update to council on the Intrado Viper 911 System Upgrade, which will move Fairfield County from Phase II wireless to Next Generation 911 which allows the capability to receive voice, text and by 2016 pictures and videos from wireless callers.
He added that neighboring Kershaw County has already implement the Next Gen system and neighboring Newberry County is in the process of implementing it.
“This is not only a request but a mandate through our emergency systems,” he explained. “The fiscal impact to us is $528,231. However, this is actually an 80 percent reimbursement by the state. The other portion of these revenues are actually taken from our tariff monies which actually can only be used for upgrades for equipment just like this.”
Pope said the upgrade will be a win-win for the county and for the community.
“I think this will also help public safety with being able to not only give the voice information to our public safety officials but also have the capability of actually sending actual pictures by 2016 so this should be an enhancement and upgrade to our system once everything is in place,” he said.
Part of the money also will be used to replace office furniture that is eight years old. Council approved the request unanimously.
Patricia M. Edwards is the regional editor for Civitas Media’s properties in South Carolina, which includes The Herald Independent. She is also the General Manager for The Herald Independent.