Florida County Gets Emergency Radio Upgrade

A new radio system will go online that will keep thousands of people safer during emergencies Monday morning.


LAKE COUNTY, Fla. --

A new radio system will go online that will keep thousands of people safer during emergencies Monday morning.

Lake County's communication system is getting a 30 million dollar overhaul that will connect all of the county's emergency service radios and speed up emergency response time.

Lake County emergency crews used to have to juggle three radios, one each to communicate with police, paramedics and firefighters.

On Monday, all the emergency agencies are tossing their old VHF radios and are installing a new 800 megahertz radio system.

"You know the tornadoes, we didn't have any communications for awhile," recalled Sheriff Gary Borders.

The 2007 twisters that killed 21 people brought serious communication issues to the forefront. The tornadoes knocked out a communications tower, leaving portable radios useless.

Police, firefighters and paramedics were unable to communicate with each another, and as a result many lives were put in jeopardy.

"We're talking about safety and being able to communicate with other first responders, so I think it is a great thing to happen for Lake County," said Sheriff Borders.

Beginning Monday, a new $30 million radio system overhaul will make that problem a thing of the past. With the new system in place, every agency will be able to talk to each other now.

"This is absolutely the biggest thing I've been part of and we're very proud to be able to give this to the people in the field that need it," said Corporal Jason Matthews, Lake County Sheriff's Office.

With this new system, Lake County emergency crews will be able to quickly contact any emergency service within the county and other Central Florida responders with the touch of a button.

In addition to some 3000 new radios that have been installed, the county also saw their number of communication towers grow from six to eighteen.

Lake County officials will hold a special ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the new technology at 10:00am Monday morning.