Firefighters get money for critical paging system

Ottawa Fire Services (OFS) is getting nearly $1.8 million to replace a critical communication system that the chief says is barely hanging on.

The department's proposed capital budget set aside $632,000 this year and an additional $1.161 million next year for a new paging system to alert fire stations whenever someone calls 911.

Fire Chief Kim Ayotte said the system, along with a similar one for rural firefighters, desperately needs replaced.  

"That service is quite frankly end of life. We can't get parts for it anymore," Ayotte said.

Scrounging for spare parts

The alert system includes loudspeakers inside fire halls that tell crews where they're going and what the emergency is. The paging system also alerts volunteer firefighters when there are calls in their area.

Ayotte said OFS has been buying up spare parts when other fire department decommission similar systems, but that won't last.

Ayotte said it will take time to get the replacement system up and running.

"It is going to take us two or three years," he said.

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