At last night's annual town business meeting, Old Lyme voters unanimously approved a special appropriation of $32,500 to install new equipment on the Mile Creek Tower to allow for interagency communication between police, fire, EMS, Public Works, and other agencies, including schools.
Communication problems between the town's emergency service departments first became apparent following Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Some of the critical issues were addressed in the wake of that storm, but during and after Superstorm Sandy, Old Lyme's police, fire, and Emergency Medical Service were still unable to communicate with each other, nor could they communicate with key town departments such as Emergency Operations and Public Works.
"We could not talk across town to each other," said Old Lyme Police Officer Thomas Heinssen.
The funds approved last night will be used to install a second channel on the Mile Creek Tower.
"Since 2005, the fire department has had a system that does work but it primarily serves the fire department," said Heinssen. "Police and ambulance share one channel."
Adding a second channel will allow all the town's emergency departments to communicate with each other and give them the ability to talk to the Department of Transportation, the town's Public Works and Emergency Operations Center, and local schools too.
Old Lyme's police and fire departments say that now they have the funds they hope to have the second channel installed by early spring.