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Clinton County 911 center to get upgrades

Newswatch 16's Nikki Krize explains how officials hope to change spotty 911 service with some upgrades to the county's radio communication system.

LOCK HAVEN, Pa. — The people who work at the Clinton County Department of Emergency Services are the initial first responders when it comes to emergencies.

Like some other places in Pennsylvania, Clinton County's emergency services system is on its last leg.

"We live in a very rural area where cell phone service is poor in places, as well as it's not a very effective manner to communicate back and forth with responders in the field," said Andrew Kremser, Clinton County director of the Department of Emergency Services.

First responders like Charles Rosseln know that firsthand. Rosseln is a firefighter with Chapman Township Volunteer Fire Company.

"We lose communication right in the middle of it. We don't have good communication. 'Did you hear that?' 'No, go to another radio and try to get the comm center so we can hear what's going on,'" Rosseln said, describing how some calls go.

Thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), improvements are being made to the public safety system. The new system will improve communication between the county's 911 center and emergency service providers. It will upgrade three radio towers.

"As we receive funding, we take steps to knock this phase out, and we go forth from there," Kremser said.

First responders say the improvements will be a huge help.

"Being here and listening to what they're going to do is upgrade them, which will help us greatly," Rosseln added. "It could save a life."

The new system will also speed up communication and, in turn, result in faster response times when it comes to emergencies.

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