The proposed project will allow a mobile communication system to travel to a unified EOC or command post to provide communication solutions that are independent of existing communication infrastructure.
(Black Press file photo)

The proposed project will allow a mobile communication system to travel to a unified EOC or command post to provide communication solutions that are independent of existing communication infrastructure. (Black Press file photo)

Smithers and Telkwa hoping to upgrade communication infrastructure in event of emergency

Village and Town submitting grant application together to pay for new project

The Town of Smithers and the Village of Telkwa are working together to strengthen their Emergency Operation Centres’ communication infrastructures.

At the June 28 regular council meeting, Smithers council supported submitting a joint grant application with the village for the Union of BC Municipalities Community Emergency Preparedness Fund for Emergency Operations Centres and Training for $50,000.

Councillors also authorized town staff to fully manage grant funding and purchasing on behalf of both the town and village.

If the grant is successful, the money will be used to purchase 17 Lenovo Think Pad Laptops; install a Grand Control satellite internet and communication system, a radio repeater system, a mast antenna, a BaseCamp radio communication system and a Smart Board in the Smithers Fire Rescue Command Truck; and purchase a laptop charging station and lockbox cart for the Village of Telkwa.

In the past, both municipalities have been successful in getting similar grants.

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In a report to Smithers council, director of Bulkley Valley Emergency Support Services, Matt Herzog, said this joint funding has allowed the Town and the Village to expand both emergency programs through the purchase of equipment including: weather monitoring, communication and satellite backup systems.

This equipment, other technologies and training could not have been funded solely by either municipality. This partnership has dramatically increased the ability for both municipalities to be more resilient to local and regional emergencies and disasters, Herzog said.

He also noted both emergency programs have identified the vulnerability of the communication system in central and northern British Columbia.

A single fiberoptic line carries all internet and cellphone networks. In addition, cell phone towers are also vulnerable to damage during disasters.

The proposed project will allow a mobile communication system to travel to a unified EOC or command post to provide communication solutions that are independent of existing communication infrastructure, eliminating the risk of losing communication with Emergency Management BC, the incident command post, or the emergency response personnel operating on the ground.


@MariscaDekkema
marisca.bakker@interior-news.com

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