County working out kinks in new radio system

WEST CHESTER --The Chester County Department of Emergency Services has experienced some minor problems implementing the county’s new $42 million emergency radio system, but officials Friday expressed optimism that the issues are not affecting services.

According to department spokeswoman Patty Mains, over the past several weeks the county’s computerized tracking system has noted an increase in failed activations of mobile pagers. The county’s emergency personnel use a total of 2,883 pagers that alert fire and EMS responders of about 100 calls for service each day.

Over the past 45 days the Department of Emergency Services has identified 23 instances in which the pagers failed to receive notifications. In response, this week the department conducted testing with vendors contracted to supply the pagers to identify and remedy the source of the problem.

Officials said the problem is small and has not violated any contractual agreements.

“While this is a very small number and still within the contractual requirement of 95 percent coverage 95 percent of the time, we had to ensure the reliable operation of this critical public safety system,” Mains said. “The testing yesterday was to verify that system parameter changes will continue to provide acceptable coverage.”

Mains said the Department of Emergency Services has worked with the presidents of the Fire Chiefs’ Association and EMS Council to ensure calls for service were not impacted by the technical issue. So far there are no reports that the issue has delayed any calls for service.

Officials said that similar problems are common in any implementation of a new system.