CINDERELLA – Doug Goolsby, Mingo County Interim Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security approached the Mingo County Board of Education at Tuesday’s meeting to discuss a radio grant program and homeland security preparedness.
Goolsby approached the BOE to explain the radio grant program that he had applied for. According to Goolsby, the radio program will allow schools and buses to respond to emergencies in a timelier manner.
“The big thing about homeland security and emergency management is we have to complete a yearly Threat Hazard Index Risk Assessment (THIRA)… What we noticed with the THIRA is we have had a couple of incidents where a school or bus has been involved in an emergency and they did not have communications with 911. They either had to use a phone which slows down response and especially a bus doesn’t have a good enough cell service,” Goolsby said.
“What we have in this state is called SIREN which is a state interoperable network. There is approximately 130 towers throughout the state that these radios can act upon. They are mostly designed for homeland security… You will be able to do your daily business on them. In the instance that there is a wreck or something goes on at the school, they can have direct communication with 911. They work like a cell phone. They are digital technology and they are the best going right now,” Goolsby continued.
Goolsby explained that he is in the process of attempting to secure a $150,000 grant through homeland security. “I have approached the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. Through a grant from homeland security I am trying to get a $150,000 which will more than likely cover all busing and all schools and also the maintenance director and hopefully one at your offices,” Goolsby said.
Goolsby explained the benefits of securing the grant stating, “You will have complete communications and interoperability with emergency services instead of having to have a bus radio your maintenance office and the maintenance office has to call 911. It is all in hopes of speeding up the process. If a child was to have a seizure on the bus, they could go straight to the 911 channel and get an ambulance. That was one of my big fears. When I was doing the THIRA, we look for gaps. That is the whole idea. We look where we can make something better in the county through homeland security and this was one of my top things that I was trying to get through the grant process.”
If the grant is secured, installing the new radio system will not require the county BOE to provide additional funding. “That grant is now in the proposal phase. We are waiting to see if we get confirmation on the award. If we get the award then the program will be installed in all the buses and offices. There is really no match on your all’s part. I am trying to do all this 100 percent through homeland security to get everyone better prepared in this county. That’s what I try to do,” Goolsy said.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)