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Area fire departments share $800,000 grant for new radio system
Local fire chiefs involved in the grant attended the press conference announcing the award. From left are Rossford Chief Josh Drouard, Lake Township Chief Bruce Moritz, Perrysburg Chief Jeff Klein, Perrysburg Township Chief Tom Brice and Perrysburg Township Assistant Chief Jim Rodriguez.
By Beth Church
The Rossford, Perrysburg Township, Perrysburg, Northwood and Lake Township fire departments have received an $800,000 federal grant for a new radio system.
Perrysburg Fire Chief Jeff Klein announced the grant Tuesday morning, noting that it will enhance communications between the departments while lowering costs.
Rossford Fire Chief Josh Drouard agreed, “When we come to help our neighbors, we are all on one radio.”
Chief Klein explained that the new radio system– which also will be connected to Lucas County–has a digital format, using fewer frequencies and offering more channels.
“So every time we talk, it’s clear,” he said, noting the static and feedback of the current analog system.
The chief cited a recent traffic accident on I-75 where several departments responded but had difficulty hearing each other over the radio.
Perrysburg Township Fire Chief Tom Brice said he is pleased with the coming changes.
“The end result is much clearer communication and more efficient and safer communication for our people,” he said.
While Rossford, Northwood and Lake Township already have upgraded to 800 MHz radios, half of the grant funds will be spent for Perrysburg and Perrysburg Township to receive the new mobile and portable radios.
Chief Drouard pointed out the convenience for fire personnel who no longer will have to carry two radios when they respond together.
“Using one radio alleviates all that,” he explained. “And at a large incident, we have the ability to have multiple channels.”
The other half of the grant will pay for a satellite repeater to be installed on top of Offenhauer Towers at Bowling Green State University to serve all of Wood County.
With this repeater, Rossford, Northwood and Lake Township no longer will pay monthly fees to use the Lucas County communications network.
Chief Drouard said the Rossford fire and police departments currently are paying $15 per radio, totaling $8,000 to $10,000 annually.
The $806,690 Assistance to Firefighters Grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency requires a match of $89,522 from the involved communities.
The match will be split in five, based on population, the Perrysburg chief said.
Chief Klein thanked U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman and U.S. Representative Bob Latta for their assistance in securing the grant.
Chief Klein said the group of fire chiefs have regularly been meeting for several years to coordinate training and operations.
The FEMA grant is offered each year, and the group decided to cooperatively apply for the funds.
“As a regional grant, that put us at the top of the list,” Chief Klein said.
Lake Township Chief Bruce Moritz agreed, “This proves that working together for one common goal, we can get it accomplished.”
The Journal office in Perrysburg now has the following new hours of operation:
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Rossford lies at the heart of the Crossroads of America, an area experiencing tremendous economic growth, located at the crossroads of Interstate 75 and the Ohio Turnpike. The city's population of approximately 6,000 is primarily a mix of descendants of Polish, Czechoslovakian, German and Ukrainian workers who came from Pennsylvania to work at the glass plant, now Pilkington.
Rossford was incorporated as a village in 1939 and as a city in 1971. The City is a municipal corporation which operates under its own charter and is governed by a mayor and seven-member City Council. Rossford is served by full-time police and part-time fire departments, dispatched from the neighboring Village of Walbridge.
The City maintains a Community Recreation Center and three parks, one of which,Veterans Memorial Park, features a seasonal marina along with picnic areas and diamonds and courts for baseball, tennis, basketball and volleyball.
Rossford has three elementary schools, Glenwood, Indian Hills and Eagle Point, a junior high and high school and All Saints parochial school for grades pre-kindergarten through eight.
The city boasts a public library and many service and community organizations such as the Rossford Business Association, Lions Club and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Its Rossford Community Service League sponsors annual activities such as a Valentine's Day Dance, Easter egg hunt, Halloween, Memorial Day parades and their Christmas tree lighting.
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