Monday, February 24, 2014

First Alarm Letter

To: All Ulster County Emergency Services From: Art Snyder Date: February 21, 2014 Re: News and Information Low band paging – By now most of you have probably heard that Motorola is discontinuing the production of Minitor V pagers. The new Minitor VI pagers will not be offered in low band. There may still be a limited number of new Minitor V’s available, there are other equipment manufacturers, and there are used pagers from a variety of sources. However, the fire service in Ulster County needs to get off of low band. Switching the paging frequency was part of the overall radio project. While the new 800 MHz radio system is still on hold, Motorola’s decision has now forced our hand to implement the paging part of that program. Last fall I received FCC approval to page fire departments off the 155.220 MHz frequency. However, our license must be modified to allow for the increased number of units. That request was submitted earlier this year; I am still awaiting final approval. IF that approval is granted, we will be able to provide a VHF high band/low band simulcast solution. If the modification is not approved, we will have to apply for a completely different frequency (going through the coordination process can be very time consuming, and finding a VHF high band frequency for countywide use is not guaranteed). Eventually I would like to install equipment to provide automatic simulcast on all towers for all VHF paging (something we cannot do on low band). If the high band paging solution is implemented, a time frame for fire departments to transition to a new high band paging frequency will be established. As mentioned above, the 800 MHz radio project is on hold. However, Motorola’s decision to discontinue low band paging is a sign of things to come. It should serve as a wake-up call for all those who think we can continue with our existing system. MCI trailer – We have taken delivery of a mass casualty incident (MCI) trailer to support the EMS agencies of the County. The trailer contains a cache of equipment useable during an MCI anywhere in the County. An inventory has been conducted, and once equipment is labeled with asset control tags, the vehicle will be registered. It is anticipated to be placed in service within a month or so. The Hudson – Discussions are taking place with promoters of a music festival scheduled for July 10-13 at the Winston Farm in Saugerties. While this site is the home of Woodstock 94, this year’s event is targeted at around 25,000 attendees (in 1994 that festival drew 350,000). The property owner and promoters desire to create a permanent performing arts center at this location. With the long term potential use of the property, extensive preparations are being undertaken – this will make the review process much easier for future events. Currently a small County team led by the Ulster County Health Department is reviewing plans for a mass gathering permit and ensuring that all requirements have been met. As we move forward from concept to detail, meetings will be conducted with local responders who may be affected by this event. Year-end statistics – Please see the year end incident totals on the Ulster County web site at: In 2013 this office processed 87,782 incidents: 45,015 of which were police incidents (52%), 15,128 were fire incidents (17%), and 26,639 were EMS incidents (31%).