WOODBINE - The Borough of Woodbine has made application to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development for funding for $33,750 to buy dual-band radios for the Woodbine Volunteer Fire Department (WVFD).
According to a release, most fire departments, including Woodbine, are using VHF radios, which do not conform to the nationally-recognized safety standard of 700 MHz radios.
To gradually convert from VHF to the 700MHz system, the only option available to ensure interoperability is to purchase dual-band radios.
These radios will allow firefighters to effectively communicate with dispatch, fellow firefighters/first responders and other departments on scene, thus leading to greater communication safety.
The challenge is being able to afford the dual-band radios which have an average cost of $6,500 per radio. In this regard, Cape May County’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is assisting first responders in identifying potential grants for the radios.
Three municipalities in Cape May County which qualify for USDA Rural Development funding are applying for a USDA 75% grant of $19,500.
The borough has recently received from South Jersey Gas’ First Responders Grant Program a grant of $5,000 which will be essential in addressing the 25% match and significantly leveraging the USDA funding.
At a cost of approximately $7,200 per radio, the borough anticipates purchasing six dual-band radios.
Woodbine, in conjunction with the WVFD and the Woodbine Office of Emergency Management, is committed to continuing to provide fire protection and suppression services to the community, and to maintain the equipment.
“The borough continues to pursue all opportunities to secure funding so that our firefighters continue to have the most state-of-the-art equipment. Many thanks to South Jersey Gas for leveraging this application with their award of $5,000, showing their recognition of the efforts of our first responders.”