Pitt County moves forward in solving fire department and EMS communication issues

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BELL ARTHUR, N.C. (WNCT)- Pitt County Commissioners approved the next step in dealing with radio and pager issues. Fire departments in some parts of the county have experienced problems with their communications devices since the new system was installed over two years ago. Some of the problems include garbled transmissions, delayed alerts, and weak signals. No calls have gone unanswered due to the the problems, but it is still a concern.

Bell Arthur Fire Chief, Virgil O’Neal said, “there are some departments where you don’t have as many people responding because they don’t know we have a call.”

The county has set up a text message alert system as an alternative to the radios and pagers, but there are still issues.

“It worked real well for a while, but in the last two or three weeks we’ve been having problems with that, some peoples pagers are not going off, telephones are not going off or they’re going off three, four, and five hours after the call,” Chief O’Neal said.

Pitt County is aware of the problem and assembled a committee to properly address the situation. They recommended a request for proposal in order to hire a vendor to evaluate the problems.

Pitt County Manager, Scott Elliott, said the vendor will tell the county how much the project will cost, what the fixes will be, and how long it will take. An external engineer and the vendor will collaborate on the project. The request for the proposal will be released within the next week. Once a vendor is chosen, repairs could take up to a year.

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