County Commission Approves Grant Application for County Outdoor Warning Systems

County Commission Approves Grant Application for County Outdoor Warning Systems
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At Tuesday's County Commission Meeting, Commissioners heard a request for action from the Emergency Management Department.

Request for Action
Background: Saline County implemented an 800 MHz radio system in 2020. As part of the radio system upgrade, the Outdoor Warning Sirens were to transition to an 800 MHz P25 system from the UHF analog system. This transition to 800 MHz will significantly improve our emergency communication capabilities, providing enhanced range, signal clarity, and reduced interferences. The current UHF technology limits our coverage area, resulting in gaps in siren audibility in certain county regions. Upgrading to 800 MHz will extend our coverage range, ensuring that all residents receive timely and clear emergency warnings regardless of location. Our existing UHF system is susceptible to interference from various sources, including other radio systems and environmental factors. The transition will mitigate these issues, ensuring reliable siren activation during critical situations such as severe weather events, including tornados. The 800 MHz P25 system aligns with the industry standards and emerging trends in emergency communication while tying into the county’s new 800 MHz radio system to enable seamless integration to dispatch and emergency management.

Purpose: Emergency Management is requesting the signature and, if awarded, acceptance of the Local Safety and Security Equipment (LSSE) grant for two (2) Outdoor Warning Sirens located in the City of New Cambria and the town of Kipp and to purchase a backup encoder to test and activate the siren system from the backup dispatch center. The update to the sirens would include transitioning the sirens from UHF analog to 800 MHz P25 system. This update is essential to maintain an effective Outdoor Warning system that protects the community during emergencies. Saline County has 19 Outdoor Warning Sirens within six cities and two towns, and without funding for the updates to the Kipp and New Cambria sirens, those areas of the county will no longer be covered.

The Local Safety and Security Equipment (LSSE) Grant Program provides funding to improve the accessibility and efficiency of the delivery of services to Kansans through investments to modernize information technology infrastructure, continuity of operations, and safety and security. Applications must be submitted by June 30, 2023. The grant period would be for 15 months, from October 1, 2023, through December 31, 2024.

Budget Impact The total cost of upgrading these two outdoor warning sirens and purchasing an encoder to activate the siren system is $12,172 from Blue Valley Public Safety, as they are the only vendor selling Federal Signal within our region. The funding request will include the professional installation of new radios within the sirens and related equipment, such as Antennas and cabling, for improved signal transmission and integration within our existing emergency communication infrastructure. The grant requires a 10% match of $1,217 ($406) to be shared with the City of New Cambria, the Town of Kipp, and Saline County Emergency Management if the grant is awarded.

The motion was approved 5-0.

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