OHIO | State Fire Marshal grant improves communication for 283 Ohio fire departments

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Ohio State Fire Marshal

State Fire Marshal Jeff A. Hussey is pleased to announce the Fiscal Year 2020 awardees for the MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communications Systems) grant, which includes 283 fire departments in 43 counties throughout Ohio.

The MARCS radio system allows first responders to communicate seamlessly, not only with each other, but with other agencies responding to an incident (i.e. fire departments from neighboring areas, law enforcement, etc.).

“Better, more reliable communication means a better overall response to emergency situations,” said Marshal Hussey. “Having more agencies on a modern, state-of-the-art radio system translates to an enhanced level of safety for our first responders, and safer communities for Ohioans as a whole.”

MARCS radios are sophisticated systems, and the cost can be significant. The grant helps offset the cost of the radio equipment and user fees, making the radios possible for local fire departments, regardless of size or budget. This year, the State Fire Marshal’s office received nearly $9 million in requests for the $3 million in available funding.

Priority funding went to departments applying as part of a regional or county-wide effort, and departments that showed they are prepared to immediately begin using the MARCS radios upon award receipt.

Six of the 43 counties awarded are part of a regional effort to have each department on the county on the MARCS radio system, including: Brown, Champaign, Holmes, Medina, Richland, and Scioto.

“With these six additional county awards, the fire service in 61 counties throughout Ohio will now be operating on the MARCS or compatible systems,” said Hussey. “I encourage fire departments that did not receive funding this year to reapply next year.”

Letters detailing each department’s award or denial will be sent to applicants in the coming weeks.

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