Byram Fire Department in crucial need of radios - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Byram Fire Department in crucial need of radios

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The Byram Fire Department has seven full-time firefighters and more than two dozen reserve, or volunteer, firefighters. The Byram Fire Department has seven full-time firefighters and more than two dozen reserve, or volunteer, firefighters.
BYRAM, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A number of ladder trucks showed up to the scene of a fire at Metal Coaters in Byram on Aug. 6. The Byram Fire Department's truck was one of them, but Byram ran into a few issues that evening.

"One of my trucks that arrived had no CD radio in it. Because it had no CD communications, I couldn't give it directions prior to its arrival, or communicate. I had to do face-to-face communications. It's very difficult when you're working a stressful situation," says Byram Fire Chief Marshall Robinson.

The Byram Fire Department has seven full-time firefighters and more than two dozen reserve, or volunteer, firefighters. The city and county work together on fires, but county communication radios are not P-25 compliant, which means they can't communicate with other radios in the county's municipalities. Direct communication is sometimes impossible.

The problem with getting up to speed, Chief Robinson says, is the Hinds County Board of Supervisors.

In April, during a meeting when Supervisor Kenneth Stokes was not present, the board approved $201,000 in funding for five mobile and 35 portable radios. But at a later move, that docket item was not approved.

"For three months we sat at docket claim with a 2-2 vote with President Graham and Vice President Stokes voting no for our request. Supervisor Calhoun and Supervisor Fisher voting yes in a stalemate," Robinson said.

And during a July meeting, the action was rescinded altogether.

Funding for radios traditionally comes out of a county's E-911 funds. But Chief Robinson says he's back at square one, and he needs resolution, or Byram taxpayers might end up footing the bill. The price tag now stands at $194,000.

"I (might have) no choice but to go to the only other source, the Aldermen of Byram, and tell them that we need these radios," he says.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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