Radio communications upgrades are coming to Calhoun, according to OES/911 Director Kathy Wood.

The county will be getting a new, high broadband tower this year in the Five Forks-Broomstick area.

The new tower and new radio equipment is expected to improve communications for the county's emergency services, fire departments, police and ambulance service.

A tower had been planned for the Letherbark area, to fill radio gaps in that area and on the lower West Fork, but a new broadband tower being erected on the hill behind Spencer's Wal-Mart is expected to provide coverage.

Another tower at Floe is expected to improve service in Washington District.

OES/911 funds are being used to purchase new mobile radio equipment for county responders.

The statewide broadband system is a communications network in which the bandwidth can be divided and shared by a multiple simultaneous signals, Wood said.

"It is an always-on high speed connection to the Internet, allowing large amounts of data transmission. The new broadband tower is also expected to bring Internet to local schools and agencies, and could possibly bring broadband to area residents.

The project provides opportunity to communicate on the state Interoperability Radio Project.

West Virginia has several radio tower sites currently in use, and will rapidly be adding more.

"To simplify, the IRP system works similar to cell phones. It will use multiple towers to communicate, unlike our current system that requires the responder to reach a specific tower," Wood said.

"Our goal is better communications ensuring the safety and well-being of our citizens and emergency responders," she said.

With Calhoun's E-911 addressing and mapping having been completed, a county E-911 map book has every road location-dwelling mapped, and a map book has been supplied to every emergency vehicle in the county.

If you have 911 addressing information, contact Gary Buchanan at 304-354-0911.

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