Four months after the lighting strike that damaged Polk County’s Communication Center, radio service technicians were onsite Tuesday morning to begin installing new radio equipment that will replace the old system that was damaged beyond repair.
This equipment serves as the communication link for the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, Grannis & Mena Police Departments, Arkansas State Police, Emergency Management, Polk County Rural Fire and the Mena Fire Department. Installation should be complete by Wednesday. Other users include Arkansas Game & Fish, Arkansas State Parks, US Forest Service and Southwest EMS as needed.
This will complete repairs in the communication center as all new 911 equipment was placed into service the last week of October. This was a scheduled replacement of the 911 equipment, due to having software that is no longer supported by AT&T.
The lightning strike was caused by an usual July storm that rolled through the County on the evening of July 8 and early morning hours of July 9. The storm caused major damage to county roads, bridges, vehicles, and communication equipment, debilitating the County’s 911 System. The 911 calls were forced to be re-routed through Montgomery County until repairs were finalized three days later.
The storm delivered extraordinary lightning throughout the county. “Our communications tower, located at the Courthouse, was directly hit causing damage to radio consoles, 911 equipment, and internal telephone equipment,” stated Ellison. Heavy rain started around 11 pm and continued through early morning hours. After the rain ended, measurements varied around the county with the highest totals from the Wickes area topping 10 inches, according to Ellison.
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