THE Grampians Country Fire Authority operational district will fix communication problems with a multi-million-dollar new digital radio system.
Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells announced the rollout of a $66.24-million communication system for regional CFA brigades on Tuesday.
Mr Wells said the new Regional Radio Dispatch Service would reduce the risk of dispatch communication failures and improve co-ordination between emergency services.
District 17 operations manager Peter Bell said the new system would be rolled out to all Wimmera brigades.
“It is a state-wide rollout, except for about three or four brigades, but it is certainly being rolled out all over District 17,” he said.
Mr Bell said the system would provide better coverage for radios.
The new system will allow direct communications between fire-fighters and the Emergency Services Telecommunication Authority and dispatch operators.
Previously, rural brigades did not have direct radio communications with the authority and relied on base-station operators to relay urgent incident messages.
Mr Bell said now brigades could communicate directly with the emergency communication centre operators at Mount Helen.
“All brigades are dispatched from there and now they can talk back directly to the centre,” he said.
Mr Bell said the new system was also digital.
“Before it was an analogue system, so with the digital network being rolled out, a digital system will be better to use,” he said.
He said all new radios were in place in Wimmera brigades and fire-fighters had received training in the new digital network.
“It will go live on June 30,” he said.
Mr Wells said the new system would reduce the risk of dispatch communications failures, improving fire-fighter and community safety in regional Victoria.
“Previously, about 45 per cent of rural brigades had no direct contact with the authority,” he said.