“Our antenna and new radio system is done and operational,” said fire commissioner Stan Riffle, signing off on a hefty bill to eliminate numerous communication dead spots on the Point.
At their December 9 meeting fire commissioners paid off the last $61,000 of the total $79,000 it cost to put an antenna on the Whidbey Telecom tower and install equipment both on the Point and in Bellingham. The upgrades create a local system for firefighters’ pagers and radios that then has a direct connection to county dispatch, rather than having every communication bouncing to mountaintop antennas in the county.
Fire chief Christopher Carleton said Northwest Communications had been in Point Roberts testing the efficiency of the system and the results would be presented at either the January or February commissioners’ meeting. “I can demonstrate how much better is it,” he said, comparing reception before and after the changes.
Wrapping up 2015, Carleton thanked the community, volunteers and commissioners. “Right now we’re at 185 calls for the year, which is a record for this district,” he said. The district took 174 calls in 2014. “We’re going up every year it seems and we’re working extremely hard to provide that coverage.”