Whether it's a natural disaster, a household disaster or a crime, first responders have to talk.
Arlington firefighters and police currently communicate on a 28-year-old analog radio system. The Arlington Fire Department is pushing to upgrade to a digital public radio system.
“When disasters occur and major crises materialize, our ability to connect to one another, between the cities, between the state and with our federal partners is critical,” said Arlington Fire Chief Don Crowson.
Crowson says the current system is outdated. He is pushing for the city to upgrade to a digital public radio system, like many other cities across the country are doing.
“It's new technology, it's the latest technology. It allows public safety systems and agencies to be inter-operable with one another in a digital format,” said Crowson.
The new technology would not just expand who Arlington first responders can talk to -- other agencies in other cities - but it will also expand what they can do.
“A digital system with increase our capacity significantly affording us more radio channel availability, talk groups and will allow us to encrypt channels and talk groups to keep responders safe,” added Crowson.
Crowson noted that upgrading to the new $14 million digital radio system will allow the city to, not just talk about safety, but make sure it happens too.
“If we can’t talk to one another quickly and effectively then we put responders at risk, we put the citizens at risk.”
The city is currently pursuing funding options for the digital system.