Photo: County of Humboldt.

From a press release the County of Humboldt sent out yesterday:

Communication is critical during an emergency and a long overdue radio system improvement project linking first responders and other agencies is underway for the County of Humboldt.

While work has already begun on radio towers in the outlying parts of the county, a significant portion of the project will occur this evening, June 16, when crews will install three microwave drum receivers, two antennas and other equipment atop the Courthouse. Crews will use a crane to lift the equipment onto the roof. Due to this work, the parking lot located next to the Sheriff’s Office entrance on 4th Street will be closed beginning at 6 p.m. The public is asked to stay out of the area until construction is complete.

The work tonight brings the county one step closer to completion of the improvement project, which will convert the county’s entire radio communications system to digital. Currently, not all areas in the county are covered by radio communication due to the limitations of the existing analog system with the county’s vast and rugged terrain. The new digital system will change that, allowing for a larger coverage area – something that is especially important for rural parts of the county which are increasingly at risk of wildfire and other emergencies.

“Communication is the cornerstone of any emergency response,” said Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal. “This updated infrastructure will enable us to communicate countywide and will ensure that we have the proper communication in place to effectively coordinate and respond to any county emergency.”

Though predominantly used for emergency response purposes, many other county departments rely on the county’s radio towers and equipment for communications, including the District Attorney’s Office, the Office of Emergency Services, Probation and Public Works Departments.

The entire project is estimated to cost $6.8 million with funding from the County’s General Fund, Measure Z, Community Corrections Partnership, County Administrative Office – Information Technology Team, District Attorney’s Office and Public Works. The remote structures and equipment are exposed to extreme weather conditions, so proper maintenance is necessary for this project. All the towers will be linked to the Communications Center at the County Courthouse in Eureka.

“Modernizing our communication infrastructure will allow us to gain efficiencies that the digital environment provides, enhance our continuity of government efforts and futureproof our radio system hardware,” said Jim Storm, Humboldt County Information Technology Division Director.

The project is expected to be completed by next year.