County Purchases New Radios for Emergency Responders


"It's basically your bread and butter," was the response given by Kemper County Emergency Management Director Ben Dudley when asked about the importance of reliable communications in the field of emergency response. He added, "If you can't talk you can't do anything."

And to aid in communications Kemper County has recently purchased 110 new Kenwood 5430 handheld radios and 30 Kenwood 5930 mobile units. Dudley stated that this purchase was fully funded by the Kemper County Board of Supervisors, with no grant money, and purchased from the Express Products List, at State Contract pricing.

The handheld radios will go to the 12 volunteer fire departments in the county, as well as the Road and Bridge Department and to the Supervisors. Twenty of the mobile units have been distributed to the volunteer fire departments, with the other 10 going to Roads & Bridges.

The new radios will operate on the MSWIN radio system, rather than the old high-band system which has been in use for many years. MSWIN allows for statewide communications between responders and departments, and the ability to set up separate talk groups, and one big advantage is that the State maintains the system.

The radios have been delivered, installed and put into service, and Dudley said that they have already benefited the local responders with better, more reliable communications. He added that communications is first and foremost a safety issue, along with the ability to coordinate efforts, pointing out that Kemper County Sheriff's Deptartment in now on the MSWIN system, as well. Talk groups allow the linking of all county responders, while still maintaining required privacy.

The purchase of the communications equipment marks a major step forward in communications for local responders and shows a commitment by county officials to aid not only the responders, but county residents as well.

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