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The Radcliff Fire Department is wasting no time, storming out of the gate in the new year with an urgent eye on improvement.
By the end of January, the department had scooped up close to $300,000 in grant money that will be used for emergency- and rescue-related upgrades. The department also launched a new e-mail- and text-based community alert service in January that will connect users directly to the city through the announcement of weather alerts, community events and other pertinent information.
Radcliff Fire Chief Jamie Henderson said the city has been awarded roughly $288,000 in grants that will better fortify the city’s protection in times of need.
One of the largest awards came through a Community Development Block Grant that included $88,112 for a weather siren upgrade that will place the city’s sirens on a two-way frequency with the ability to transmit and receive. Henderson said the system was hampered before by the one-way limitation. The upgrade also includes a system with which the city can monitor the status of sirens and quickly locate a problem if a siren malfunctions, he said.
Another $56,262 through a Hazard Mitigation grant will be used to install three weather sirens in the southern part of the city — one at John Hardin High School, one at fire station No.2 and one at the city industrial park — that will cover areas not currently served by the siren system, Henderson said.
Also, the city gained $47,552 for a generator at Colvin Community Center through the Community Development Block Grant award. Henderson said the generator was needed because the center will serve as a shelter in case of disasters like the 2009 ice storm. Likewise, a $45,741 Hazard Mitigation grant will provide backup generation at Radcliff City Hall.
And the city received around $8,100 for a suitcase repeater system, which Henderson said can be used for communications during emergencies. More than $45,000 in Homeland Security grants were obtained, too, including $39,900 for rescue equipment and $7,500 for handheld radios, Henderson said.
Meanwhile, the city rolled out its Nixle community alert system in January, a free service Henderson learned about from Doug Finlay, deputy director of Hardin County Emergency Management.
After a lengthy application process, the city was approved to use the service that will aid in case of natural disasters or public emergencies, said Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall. The system is available at no cost to taxpayers, Duvall said.
Nixle is similar to other mass notification systems, but it does not send phone calls, he said.
Henderson said the service could specifically serve a vital function during a large-scale scenario in which the city loses power. Officals can send updates about shelter locations, for example. And it’s flexible in its functionality for Henderson’s department because he can send messages directly from his city-issued Blackberry.
Henderson said launching the service also can give the city and its public safety agencies “hundreds of eyes” to track problems.
The city already has put the service into use, issuing a missing person alert with a picture and full description attached.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762.