Staff recommends approving the purchase of (19) Bendix King (BK) VHF portable radios with accessories; antenna, batteries, charger, and remote speaker mic, as well as (6) Kenwood UHF portable radios with accessories for the ambulances.
The Fire Department currently uses a combination of the BK legacy, Motorola 1250, and Motorola 750 for portable radio communications. These radios are currently obsolete and no longer supported by the manufacturer. The Motorola’s do not meet the current requirements for portable radios that require digital programming and encryption. Digital programming allows for interagency operability during emergency incidents.
The Fire department uses two different radios for communications due to the contracts with Fresno ECC and Fresno County EMS.
The department currently has (8) older model BK and (9) older model Motorola VHF radios for fire communications. These portable radios that are in service have exceeded their recommended shelf life. The parts and batteries needed for repairs have become cost prohibitive and a purchase of new radios over continual replacement of parts and batteries is more fiscally sound. Additionally, the current radios lack the necessary technology for programming for interagency communication.
In addition, the department currently has (4) older model UHF portable radios for the ambulances for EMS communications. This allows for only one EMT/Paramedic to carry a UHF radio. These radios are also obsolete and no longer supported by the manufacturer.
The current Coalinga Firefighters Association MOU, section 10.04, states that:
All classifications of the Coalinga Firefighters Association shall be assigned the following equipment:
10. (1) portable handheld radio with remote speaker mic
Purchasing these radios will meet that requirement and allow for each EMT/Paramedic to have a portable radio while on duty. The purchase of the UHF radios will allow for 2 per ambulance giving each EMT/Paramedic access to a UHF radio.
Because the department uses two different radios staff researched the availability of a dual band radio. Currently there is only one portable radio that is capable of both UHF and VHF frequency. Those radios are approximately $8,000 apiece and would increase the purchase amount to $152,000 for 19 radios. The purchase of separate VHF and UHF radios is more fiscally responsible and will meet the needs of the department.
Do not approve the purchase.
V. FISCAL IMPACT:
The cost of purchasing this equipment is $41,757.71 (see attached quotes) and can be paid from IGT funds we have available. Cook’s communication came in the lowest. However, 49er communication will beat any other quote and they have the current CAL Fire contract which would be beneficial for interagency operability and cloning of radios. The purchase would have no impact on the current adopted budget or the General Fund.