CEDAR HILL – The City of Cedar Hill Fire Department just rolled out a new regional radio communication system, which will enhance city services for all residents. The system went live on April 25 following approval of funding for the P25 Radio Project in the summer of 2021.
Regional partners, these include DeSoto and Duncanville, who are also moving away from stand-alone radio systems. And, with this implementation, the Cedar Hill Fire Department is now able to communicate not only regionally, but across the DFW Metroplex with all departments on the Dallas System.
“The radio system and equipment procurement will allow us to be subscribers on the Dallas Project 25 (P25) radio system,” Cedar Hill Assistant Fire Chief Rafael Reyes said. “It puts us in a situation where we can communicate with all of our regional partners in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.”
Before the P25 Radio Project, the cities of Cedar Hill, DeSoto, and Duncanville were on radio systems where they were only able to communicate among themselves.
“In essence, we’re built out on an island when we talk about radio communications,” Reyes added.
Overall, the use of proper radio and communication systems can determine the success when emergency response is necessary. For example, lessons learned and failures from past disasters and incidents such as the 2001 Twin Tower tragedy.
Before the implementation of the new equipment last week the Cedar Hill Fire Department along with other regional partners from DeSoto and Duncanville were operating stand-alone without different loaner radio equipment on hand from other cities and agencies. Now with the P25 interoperable radio system, it allows public safety professionals to communicate with one another via similar radio equipment, regardless of manufacturer.
“Having interoperable emergency communication is essential to emergency response, local neighborhood and community safety, and national security,” Reyes said. “The P25 digital system addresses the need for communications with partners from across the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex. Because of the way, radio systems will be meshed across North Central Texas, our personnel will have the capability of finding the correct zone for jurisdictions from Parker County on the West side of the Metroplex to locations in far East Texas, up to the Red River on the North and down South towards Hill County, all while also having the capability to communicate with our home Public Safety Alerting Point (PSAP). During deployment, we will be able to maneuver radio zones to an interoperable radio channel. This interoperability allows different jurisdictions, and responders from different emergency response disciplines, to communicate together seamlessly.”
Cedar Hill spent approximately $2.3 million for the equipment, collectively as a group, the three cities paid around $6.5 million to upgrade the equipment overall.
The cost will certainly be well worth it though, and Reyes said “Having interoperable emergency communication is essential to emergency response, local neighborhood and community safety, and national security. This is not only a fire department communications effort but also involves all public safety. We’ve also included our Cedar Hill partners from Public Works and Parks in our efforts, as they assist during times of emergency disaster situations.”
Cedar Hill Fire Department Is Keeping Pace With Growth
Another plus, the fire station alerting system, called Mach Alert, will also work in conjunction with the new radio system.
While there are no statistics for 2023, in 2022 the Cedar Hill Fire Department ran 7,989 calls for assistance in 2022.
Just one more way for the City of Cedar Hill to enhance services for residents, the Cedar Hill Fire Department currently employs 79 personnel operating four fire stations in the city.
And, as the city grows a new fire station has also been recommended in the City of Cedar Hill Public Safety Strategic Plan to be located on the East Side of 67 in the Joe Wilson and Pleasant Run area.