Mono gets behind compatible communications systems for emergency services in Dufferin

February 16, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Can you hear me now?

That’s likely a common question among the region’s emergency services when trying to contact one another across jurisdictions.

During its Feb. 14 regular meeting, Mono town council discussed the fragmented means of communication impacting Dufferin County. Council agreed to support a compatible communications system that covers all essential services countywide.

Current systems can’t provide seamless communications between emergency services. There are radio frequency coverage gaps, single-point failure risk, and the systems can’t provide for encrypted communications.

“I think the concern is the communication system span the gamut between up-to-date digital systems and tin cans with string,” Mono Mayor John Creelman said.

“The big issue being that various towns, various departments can’t talk to each other. That’s a really big problem if you’ve got a major catastrophe that requires all hands on deck.”

A countywide universal telecommunications system, including a Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN), would allow for continuous and reliable telecommunications for fire departments and emergency services, even when providing mutual aid outside of their regular coverage areas.

An updated system would provide redundancy in the event of system failures to ensure telecommunications are protected during situations such as surges and disasters. 

The Town of Orangeville reviewed in 2021 its Public Safety Communication Systems for current and future state needs. The review identified coverage and reception within Dufferin County as a whole.

Orangeville has hosted information sessions with fire departments, Dufferin County, Town of Caledon, Upper Grand District School Board, and other county municipalities.

These sessions have identified gaps in the current land mobile radio systems (LMR). The LMR systems are a critical component of emergency services communications and are relied on to coordinate resources during emergency situations. 

Before Mono endeavours to review its communications system, Creelman said council should consider some means of coordination with the other parties to ensure compatibility. Orangeville seems pretty far along in the process, he said.

“The sad thing is that there doesn’t appear to be any provincial standards for this,” Creelman said. “Once again, we’re only as good as our ability to get adjacent municipalities to sign on and participate.”

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