Sheffield police and firefighters get communication upgrade after chlorine leak

During the chlorine scare first responders could not communicate because they operate on two different dispatch systems.

Posted: Nov 19, 2019 5:19 PM
Updated: Nov 19, 2019 7:11 PM

First responders in Sheffield have a better way of communicating.

It's the result of a chlorine leak in September that led to evacuations.

Ricky Terry, the Sheffield police chief, said the fire and police departments have two separate dispatches and that lead to a communication problem the night of the chlorine leak, but now the flaws are fixed.

"If you've lost communication you've lost everything," said Terry.

In September, as Sheffield firefighters and police went door to door to evacuate people for a chlorine leak communication between the two entities became a problem.

"I could not communicate with my fire captain at that time. I actually had to call him on his cell phone and say, 'Hey how are we going to evacuate these people' because during that time we had to evacuate around 300 people in our village area," said Terry.

Terry said the two departments, along with Colbert EMA, held a series of meetings after the chlorine scare on ways to improve the system. City Council approved a new communication system which cost about $3,000. It puts firefighters and police in direct contact with each other, along with other departments in Colbert County. The new system is similar to an app and it's called Tango Tango.

"If anything else happens then we have this communication now where all my supervisors are on it and I can communicate with them even if I'm out of the country or the state. I can communicate with my officers if anything happens of importance," said Terry.

Muscle Shoals and Colbert County are on the same communication technology so if all the departments need to work on something together they can all talk through the same technology.

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