Central Virginia emergency response radio system completely revamped

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) When duty calls, our first responders are ready to go. What makes everyone spring into action is sometimes over-looked: the radio call.

But in Central Virginia, the radio infrastructure had reached end of life. Some areas did not have any coverage at all.

"Amherst County and there were some parts of Bedford County, that just did not have the coverage,” said Gary Roakes, Director of Public Safety in Amherst County. “So when a deputy or a fire truck or EMS responder got in those areas, you had no communication. That's a huge safety issue for us."

So the Region 2000 Radio Board had to update the entire system. After six years of planning, today officials from Amherst County, Bedford County, and the City of Lynchburg came together to introduce the new system.

Harris Radio, located right in Lynchburg partnered with the board on the project.

"Every single one of the customers that we have across the globe is important to us. This one's special because it's our home. It's where we live,” said President of Harris Public Safety and Professional Communications, Nino DiCosmo.

The project cost over 12 million dollars, and that is just for the infrastructure part of it. Each locality handled the financing of the radios.

With a flick of a switch, responders will now be able to communicate across localities more efficiently.

“Whether it's a barking dog or whether it's a huge disaster like they are dealing with in Texas,” said Roakes. “Knowing that the providers in Central Virginia have a dependable system that they can rely on to provide service is the most important thing.”