Belmont County Fire Departments Receive Grant Funding

When emergency strikes, fire departments and other first responders know that communication can be key when responding to a fire or other emergency. Last week, local departments received money that can go toward improving communications during such emergencies.

The Cumberland Trail Fire District, the Martins Ferry Volunteer Fire Department, and the Bethel Township Volunteer Fire Department in Monroe County all received funds from the Ohio State Fire Marshal to help offset the costs of new communications equipment.

The money is aimed to help both departments purchase equipment for the Multi-Agency Radio Communication System, also known as MARCS. The system is becoming popular across the state due to its ability to greatly streamline communication between departments for emergencies or combined operations. With MARCS, radios from various departments can be tied together for faster and easier communication. MARCS also boosts the signal strength of radios on the system, greatly increasing the effective range of the radios carried by the responders.

“Many incidents require the assistance of multiple fire departments, police departments and even state agencies,” Fire Marshal Jeff A. Hussey said in a press release. “When all responders are able to communicate instantly and seamlessly, it can speed up the resolution of the incident, protect lives and help minimize the spread of damage.”

Cumberland Trail, Bethel Township Fire Department and the Martins Ferry department were among 186 fire departments across 54 counties in the state to receive money to help with MARCS, with priority funding going to departments applying as part of a county or regional effort. Bethel Township recieved $4,200, Cumberland Trail received $840, and Martins Ferry $120. The grant helps to offset the cost of the radio equipment and user fees, making the radios possible for local fire departments, regardless of their size or budget.