Leeper 9-1-1 Tower Part of County Emergency Communication Project

IMG_0947LEEPER, Pa. (EYT) – After watching the installation of a 195-foot tall tower in Leeper on Thursday, Clarion County Commissioner Ed Heasley acknowledged the tower is one step in improving the 9-1-1 emergency communication system in Clarion County.

(Photo by Hank Bauer.)

“It’s all part of gradual improvement, and the Leeper Tower is the first one to be soon completed in the county,” Heasley said.  “The other ones are now being worked on. They include St. Petersburg, Knox, and Rimersburg.”

Clarion County owns some of the tower sites and leases space for the other sites.

Tower Service Unlimited is building the Leeper tower and a concrete shelter behind the post office in Leeper at a cost of $313,767.00.

“We will attempt to get as much reimbursement percentage-wise as we can for each site of the budget of the $3.4 million Cares Grant for Clarion County,” continued Heasley. “Our budget request application included approximately $1.8 million to improve our emergency communication, and it can actually help the broadband service, too.”

Commissioners approved a $110,688.90 contract with MCM Consulting Group for technology, assessment, design, acquisition, implementation, verification, training, and project management for the new county 9-1-1 facility.

“We need high profile sites able to carry calls between the various sites and back to the center as needed. The sites will increase our coverage area for EMS, fire, and police. With cell phone coverage being limited in our county, sometimes it’s the only communication the first responders have.”

The county is planning to move the 9-1-1 services from the old jail to a warehouse in Paint Township near the Clarion County Jail.

The first leg for broadband access

“The sites are also the first step in installing a redundant microwave network. The sites also will provide the first leg of broadband access to the county sites and will make the availability of hot spots first, and then become hubs for the future site as they are developed.

“The public needs to remember that this is just the beginning, and it will take some time.”

Next Generation

As the county prepares for the next GEN 9-1-1 system and a new digital platform, it is necessary to have sites able to carry data between the various sites back to the center.

“Sites will increase our first response for EMS, fire, and police. Cell phone coverage is limited in the county. Sometimes, it’s the only communication the first responders have,” Heasley said.

“As we know, some sites on the county are unserved, and one of the goals of the tower upgrades project, in part, is to increase Internet capacity throughout Clarion County. The end goal is to enhance remote telemedicine appointments, telecommuting from home, and school districts and the University could be able to deliver high quality online learning.”

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