The Franklin County Emergency Communications System Oversight Committee oversees construction and maintenance of a regional interoperable communications system linking police, fire, emergency medical services, and dispatch communications throughout and beyond the Franklin County region. Committee membership consists of a representative from the Franklin County Police Chiefs Association, the Franklin County Fire Chiefs Association, the Franklin County Emergency Medical Services Committee, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments Executive Committee, Tri-State Fire Mutual Aid, Shelburne Dispatch Control, and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. The Committee meets monthly.
Radio System Trouble
If you experience an issue while using the radio system in Franklin County, please use this Radio System Trouble Ticket to let us know. The radio system manager will contact you within 48 hours to confirm that he is working on the issue you reported.
Franklin County Emergency Communication System:
OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE:
Updated May 2020
It has been some time since the last radio system update. The current pandemic is to blame as much of us and the state are in full response mode. Fortunately, the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security has been pressing forward with the CoMIRS project.
Their work included engineering how to resolve the capacity issue which was a major roadblock to Franklin County coming on to CoMIRS. We have been told that the capacity issue will be resolved by the end of June. This important step will open the gateway to Frnaklin County being brought onto the CoMIRS.
The FCECS Oversight Committee/FRCOG expects to receive a grant application in early FY21 to fund the purchase of subscriber units for public safety in Franklin County. We also expect the ability to start purchasing and distributing subscriber units in the first half of FY21.
With this in mind, please remember to include funding for accessories and installation costs in your budgets for FY21.
Subscriber Unit Pricing can be found by clicking CoMIRS Radio Replacement Program Devices and Options v1.
Updated January 2020
Since the September 5th countywide meeting, EOTSS has been busy finalizing their engineering study for the statewide CoMIRS project. This study is taking a bit longer than expected, but that is partially due to change orders that EOTSS requested from the vendor for additional engineering to ensure that the migration of Franklin County to CoMIRS happens efficiently and to determine the best way to use pagers on the CoMIRS system.
EOTSS has discovered that there may be a capacity shortage in the region that will necessitate an infrastructure upgrade and/or a re-phasing of the Franklin County migration schedule. Further work is being done by EOTSS now to assess the issue. As we learn more, we will keep all stakeholders updated.
EOTSS has completed its procurement process for radios and accessories. The pricing secured by EOTSS will be made available to Franklin County and the pricing will be in effect for three years. As part of Franklin County’s transition to CoMIRS, EOTSS will provide, on a one-time basis, mobile and portable radios to each department per the inventory of equipment needs completed last year. EOTSS will provide the lowest cost model of portables and radios to each department, which is a combination of Motorola and Kenwood equipment. Each department/municipality will have the ability to upgrade the equipment and/or purchase other add-on equipment at the department/municipality’s cost. Municipalities will also be responsible for the cost of installation and programming of the equipment. The FRCOG will manage the overall purchase on behalf of EOTSS and the municipalities. The FRCOG will be providing more information about this and will schedule a vendor demonstration at the FRCOG offices in the coming weeks. It is our hope to do this in time for municipalities to include whatever costs necessary to FY21 budgets.
Updated November 11, 2019
From EOTSS – Based on some necessary changes we have requested, we have granted an extension to complete the principal deliverables from the engineering study. In the interest of moving forward on the procurement of portables, etc., as of Friday, we have posted an RFQ using the two-way radio contract. Our hope is that we will receive price points that are even more competitive than the current numbers we shared with you. Once we have the RFQ responses (due 11/20), we’ll know what cost differential will be for everyone. We’ve also made progress in establishing a formalized procurement process.
UPDATED September 2019
The link below will send you to the presentation slides from September 5, 2019 Countywide meeting with Executive Office of Technology Services and Security
UPDATED May 21, 2019
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) requested the FCECS Oversight Committee create and submit a draft migration plan in the event the County officially chooses to migrate. As of this email, EOTSS is reviewing the draft plan and will be discussing next steps with representatives from FRCOG and the FCECS Oversight Committee in late May/early June. EOTSS is using this plan to assess how the migration of Franklin County could fit into the larger state-wide CoMIRS project schedule and funding. We do not anticipate that this is the final rollout plan. We assume that negotiation and changes will be required. That said, we want to share our initial thinking with you. It is anticipated that a county-wide meeting will be held in mid-summer with representatives from EOTSS attending.
When deciding on the order of the roll out plan the FCECS Oversight Committee used the following underlying principles.
- The geographical area with the best CoMIRS coverage is along the I91 corridor. As such, this area is considered the least probable for coverage problems so was selected to migrate first.
- The next best coverage area is in the western part of the County.
- The eastern part of the county should be last to migrate because much of it is currently outside the existing digital system coverage area.
- The state-wide radio system we may migrate to uses digital technology. Currently, the only area on the state-wide system using digital is the State Police Troop B. Unfortunately, the MSP Troop area of operations do not follow the county borders. As such, portions of Troop C (roughly Worchester County) are located in Franklin County and use analog technology. The objective of the CoMIRS project is to transition all of Massachusetts over to digital.
- The original state-wide system design had less of an emphasis on producing robust in-building coverage because it was originally anticipated to be an upgrade for state police use only and they have less in-building need. The revision to the CoMIRS engineering study to include Franklin County and its fire needs now addresses in-building coverage. We have been told that technological solutions will be identified and instituted to improve in-building issues but recognize this may proceed at a slower pace. With this in mind, the Oversight Committee is proposing to migrate police departments at an earlier phase than most fire department and EMS agencies.
It is important to state that this is a draft plan. The migration order and schedule stated in the attached document may not accurately represent the final outcome. This document serves as a starting point for discussion between EOTSS and the FRCOG/FCECS Oversight Committee.
Due to the limited amount of time the Oversight Committee had to produce this draft plan, some assumptions were made about when particular departments or towns would prefer to be transitioned. If you have concerns about your department’s early placement in the plan, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.
If you have any questions or comments relating to public safety communications in Franklin County please contact Linda Dunlavy or myself. The FRCOG has established a strong relationship with the project management team at EOTSS. Together we have established a plan to ensure efficient, recorded, and factual communication is maintained during this process.
UPDATED April, 26 2019
UPDATED March 28, 2019:
In February FRCOG representatives met with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) along with our State and Federal legislative delegation in Northampton. The goal for this meeting was to increase EOPSS’ commitment to bringing on Franklin County’s public safety stakeholders to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Interoperable Radio System. At that meeting, EOPSS reiterated that they understood Franklin County’s issues with its current system and is working to make us a priority. In March the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security sent FRCOG the statement of work for the engineering study that is need for the project to move forward. EOPSS made numerous changes to the original document. Those changes made it clear that Franklin County is included in the engineering study and for the vendor to make us a priority when developing the schedule.
The FRCOG was recently told that a vendor, Mission Critical Partners, was selected and a kick off meeting was held. A that meeting the statement of work for the CoMIRS project was reviewed and updated. Franklin County figured prominently in the edits to the original statement of work. This means that the engineering study will include how the current state radio system will need to be altered to bring Franklin County public safety stakeholders onto CoMIRS. You can read the statement of work by clicking on this Link.
In the coming months the public safety community and town officials will need to decide on the future of emergency communications in Franklin County. To put it bluntly, the current system is failing. It is not meeting the communication needs for those who protect us. In an effort to inform you on the current situation prior to making this very important decision, please review the newest fact/update sheet by clicking on this link.
FCECS Minutes April 2020
A meeting in March was not held.
FCECS Minutes February 2020
FCECS Minutes January 2020
FCECS Minutes December 2019
FCECS Minutes November 2019
FCECS Minutes October 2019
FCECS Minutes September 2019
FCECS Minutes August 2019
FCECS Minutes July 2019
FCECS Minutes June 2019
FCECS Minutes May 2019
FCECS Minutes April 2019
FCECS Minutes March 2019
FCECS Minutes February 2019
FCECS Minutes from January 2019
FCECS Minutes December 2018
FCECS Minutes November 2018
FCECS Minutes October 2018
FCECS Minutes September 2018
FCECS Minutes August 2018