Frustration Continues with Firefighter Radio Communication Issues

Portrait of a firefighter in uniform using a two way radio — Image by © image100/Corbis

Firefighters from several departments told the Starke County Commissioners on Monday night that they continue to have problems with radio communication.

Andy Tilleraas from the Railroad Township Fire Department said representatives from J&K Communications were at his fire station on Monday. He stated that they know that there’s a problem, but couldn’t quite pinpoint the issue. He said the siren doesn’t work along with radios that used to open. He did say that his department’s radio communication was a little better, but interference is a problem. Also, there is a lot of static after the firefighters are toned.

Dave Pearman from Washington-Township Fire Department reported the same communication issues where firefighters can’t talk to each other. Hamlet Fire Chief Brad Hazelton said it’s unacceptable and a directional signal may need to be changed.

Bass Lake Fire Chief Les Jensen also reported communication issues.

The Starke County Firefighters Association met on Tuesday night where there was constructive discussion on the radio issues. According to Pearman, it was reported that J&K Communications was finished with modifications and programming.

The Starke County Commissioners took note that the firefighters are asking for a vendor change if these issues can’t be resolved. These issues have plagued departments for several years.

More discussions will take place concerning the changes and current status during a fire chiefs meeting on Monday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. CT.