First responders given clear signal

CREST has reached a $13.1-million deal with Motorola Solutions Canada for new digital infrastructure for its radio communications

The Capital Region sent a clear signal to its police and firefighters this week.

The Capital Region Emergency Service Telecommunications (CREST) has reached a $13.1-million deal with Motorola Solutions Canada for new digital infrastructure for its radio communications. The “next generation” technology will replace the existing radio system that serves 50 emergency response agencies within the Capital region.

The new radio system will provide first responders with enhanced audio clarity while enhancing the coverage area.

Saanich Police Deputy Chief Scott Green said the new system will be far more reliable than what has been available.

“You’re going to have better coverage, better reliability, better building penetration and so forth, which means greater safety.”

The system is identical to the one that will be used by E-Comm in the Lower Mainland, meaning emergency responders for both regions will be using the same radios and will be able to support each other during a major event.

Saanich Fire Chief Mike Burgess, who chairs Greater Victoria Fire Chiefs Association, said the new system enhances safety for both the public and first responders.

“We fully endorse this positive move as it furthers regional resource sharing and supports interagency responses and back up,” said Burgess.

The new radio system is part of a $24.5 million investment by CREST that will also see the installation of new transmission towers and lines and further equipment upgrades. It’s an investment that’s sure to pay dividends in the event of an emergency.

More than 7.5 million calls go through the system covering police, fire departments and ambulance services in the Capital Region, representing one call every four seconds.

This week’s announcement rings loud and clear that CREST is committed to ensuring first responders have a radio system capable of dealing with that volume of calls.


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