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Lewis and Clark County receives $278k to improve communication for first responders

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Posted at 3:35 PM, Sep 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 17:35:28-04

HELENA — Lewis and Clark County has been awarded a $278,300 grant from Montana Disaster and Emergency Services to help improve radio communication for first responders.

The current first responder radio system is in the VHF (137-174 MHz range) spectrum.

Money from the grant will go towards technology that will expand the system into the 700/800MHz range in the Helena area.

Charles Gilmore, Sheriff’s Office Communications Systems manager, said with their current technology the radio coverage inside buildings-- such as hospitals and schools-- isn’t always the best.

The higher frequency band will allow more stable lines of communication, which Gilmore says is a huge help.

“The quicker we can respond and the more safe our officers are and our firefighters can be, explained Gilmore. “So when you have people that can have your back-- and you’ve got good communication with them-- things go a lot smoother.”

Gilmore says the new equipment should be installed within the next six months and will be available to all first responders will compatible equipment.