The Whitecourt Fire Department will be getting an upgrade to their communication system so that their equipment is compatible with the newer provincial system.
The department’s hardware will now be supported by the province’s Alberta First Responder Radio Communication System (AFRRCS). Alberta upgraded all of their radio communication to the AFRRCS system but Whitecourt is still using an older model. With the upgrade, the department will now have direct communication with RCMP, EMS, and STARS to coordinate emergencies.
While the province covers the costs for upkeep and maintenance of the equipment, there is an initial cost to purchase the compatible hardware. This week, Town Council approved the upgrade, as Mayor Maryann Chichak says it will improve safety and reliability for the department.
The total cost to upgrade the equipment is about $200,000. $100,000 will come from an Alberta Community Partnership Grant and the other half will come from the Town’s Fire Department Equipment Replacement Reserve. Woodlands County will contribute 24.8% of the Town’s cost for the project as an annual fire department operating expense under the current cost-share agreement.