By Jeff Gallatin
Bay Village officials expect to start updating the alert system at the fire department within the next couple of months after receiving a $150,000 grant in late March.
Although Bay Village is classified with state officials as the recipient and administrator of the grant, Bay Village fire Chief Chris Lyons said the $115,908 grant will benefit all the cities (Bay Village, Fairview Park, Rocky River and Westlake) in the West Shore Central Dispatch Center (Westcom) group.
“Getting the grant will enable Westcom and all the different cities to switch the alert system at the six fire stations (Westlake and North Ridgeville have two stations, while Bay Village and Fairview Park have one each) in the cities from a radio bandwidth-based system to one which is internet-based,” Lyons said. “The federal government has been encouraging and moving fire departments toward using an internet-based system the last few years. It’s more efficient and compatible with modern communications technology than the bandwidth system. This will make the process in our city a lot easier to accomplish.”
Lyons said the state notification letter said the process can begin after the cities formally approve the grant.
“I’m sure each city will want to look at and then take formal action on it,” he said. “Once it’s gotten all the approvals, the Westcom staff said it won’t take long to make sure all the fire stations and Westcom center get installed. So, we’re probably talking about it being done in the next couple of months.”
Lyons said there shouldn’t be any loss of efficiency when the installation is done.
“It won’t affect service for residents,” he said. “People will still be able to call in and get a good response.”
Bay Village Mayor Paul Koomar said it’s good timing for the city getting the grant now.
“We’re in the process of updating our disaster response plan,” he said. “We want to be able to respond to any problem as quickly as possible and this will help us do so.”
Koomar noted the city also recently received a Community Development Block Grant enabling it to buy a generator for the Dwyer Senior Center which will enable it to serve as a temporary shelter in the event of disasters or problems like extended power outages.
“We’ve been fortunate to get the grants,” he said. “We want our equipment and facilities to be as modern and state-of-the-art as possible.”