COLUMBUS — State Fire Marshal Jeff A. Hussey announced the Fiscal Year 2019 awardees for the MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communications Systems) grant, which includes 242 fire departments in 40 Ohio counties.
The MARCS radio system allows first responders to seamlessly communicate, not only with each other, but with other agencies responding to an incident (i.e. fire departments from neighboring areas, law enforcement, etc.).
Morrow County received five:
• Mount Gilead Fire Department, $4,320.
• Cardington Fire Department, $4,200.
• Big Walnut Joint Fire District, $4,680
• Perry-Congress Fire District, $4,200
• Iberia Joint Fire Department, $4,200.
“Operating on a modern, inter-operable public safety radio system will certainly improve emergency services in those counties and provide an enhanced level of safety for our responders,” Hussey said.
MARCS radios are sophisticated systems, and the cost can be significant. 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.
This year, the State Fire Marshal’s office received more than $12 million in requests for the $3 million in available funding.
“This high level of competition requires us to make some very difficult decisions regarding who will receive awards,” said Hussey. “It is my hope SFM grant funds will continue to be available in the future and I really want to encourage fire departments that did not receive funding this year to reapply next year.”
Key facts about the program include:
• Priority funding went to departments that applied as part of a regional or county-wide effort, and departments that showed they are prepared to immediately begin using the MARCS radios upon award receipt.
• Six of the 40 counties awarded are part of a regional effort aiming to have each fire department in the county on the MARCS radio system, including: Crawford, Defiance, Fairfield, Scioto, Washington and Wyandot.
• This is the fifth year the State Fire Marshal’s office has offered this grant.