‘It will save lives’: Congressman Hal Rogers announces funding for Johnson County first responders

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Published: May. 4, 2022 at 7:13 PM EDT
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - On Wednesday, Congressman Hal Rogers paid a visit to Johnson County at the US 23 Country Music Highway Museum to announce funding for Johnson County first responders.

For many fire, police, and EMS officials in Eastern Kentucky, communication can sometimes be difficult due to the region’s terrain.

“There are times that we can’t copy that unit by radio,” said Paintsville-Johnson County Emergency Management Director Gary McClure. “We can’t understand them, there’s too much static.”

In Johnson County, the area’s analog radios sometimes force first responders to use alternative means of communication.

“A lot of times we gotta back up and we gotta do a cell phone call to that officer or that ambulance service,” said McClure, “to be able to give good directions and to get them at the location that they need to be at.”

On Wednesday, Congressman Rogers announced $859,000 worth of grant funding to Johnson County’s first responders in order to update their radio communications.

“This allows them to communicate quickly,” said Congressman Rogers. “It’ll save lives, save property, and it will save the first responders.”

This will allow the county and the city of Paintsville’s fire, police, and EMS to go completely digital for radio communication.

“It’s the most modern communication equipment there is,” said Congressman Rogers. “It will allow these first responders extra time to get to the scene of a fire or flood or what have you. It will get that help there quicker.”

McClure says the communication center will be upgraded, repeaters will be placed throughout the county and first responders will be given state-of-the-art handheld radios with the funding.

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