DANVILLE — The East Central Emergency Network will hold an informational session of municipal leaders on the financial impact and options of purchasing new radios for emergency responders.

"We have reached out to everybody," Brian Pufnak, 911 center director, told the Montour County commissioners Tuesday.

He said municipal leaders can bring along fire chiefs.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 11 in the Columbia County commissioners conference room, at 26 W. First St., Bloomsburg.

He said fire departments are considering applying for grants for radios, which are very expensive.

At the last Riverside Borough Council meeting, Southside Fire Company Chief Nicholas Fowler said despite Montour County's 911 center merging with the Bloomsburg center nearly two years ago, radio inconsistencies remain.

When Southside responded to a call about wires down, Fowler said he was talking on his portable radio to the company engine and firefighters there couldn't hear him 50 feet away.

Riverside, in Northumberland County, is dispatched by the 911 center.

Fowler said communication was lacking on the fire company channel during a dryer fire at the laundromat in Riverside.

"Someone is going to get hurt before it gets better," he said.

At that time, Pufnak said he was aware of coverage issues not just in Montour, but also in Columbia County.

He said in a couple months, new equipment will be installed in radio towers that should definitely increase coverage to where it needs to be and provide better service in both counties. He expects this process to continue into the next full year. "It should take about a year to get all this completed," he said.

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