Safety efforts made with funds

Published 9:33 pm Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Pike County Point of Contact Board is taking steps to help increase the safety of Pike County residents.

The board, appointed by the Pike County Commission eight years ago, will receive around $32,000 to help increase the county’s ability to respond to disasters as well as other situations that call for first responders.

Alabama was awarded with a total of $600,000 from the Alabama Department of Homeland Security that was evenly divided to each region and then divided further by each county.

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Each county present at the meeting Tuesday agreed to spend its share of the grant money with the priority for sustaining mutual aid teams and first responder’s equipment and training.

Pike County will be purchasing eight new mobile data terminals that will be distributed evenly across the county’s first responder departments.

“The mobile data terminals will be spread evenly across the county,” said Larry Davis, director of the Pike County Emergency Management Agency and point of contact for the Alabama Department of Homeland Security.

The additional terminals will increase the ability for the counties to communicate and up the efficiency of Pike County’s first responders.

The mobile data terminals will allow increased communication with each other, which in turn can improve the safety of the community.

“Having additional terminals in the vehicles of first responders and law enforcement officers will allow the ability to give and get information right away,” Davis said. “This will increase the capabilities, which will increase all of our safety.”

Though this year the terminals were the priority, next year there may be some flexibility allowed in the allocation of the grant.

“We want to strengthen the counties, and by doing so we can strengthen the region,” said Jim Walker, director of the Alabama Department of Homeland Security.

Walker led the conference by saying the mutual aid teams and first responders funding should be top priority for all counties.

“By increasing the ability to communicate and get information faster,” Walker said.

“We have the opportunity to respond faster to any situation that may occur.