The United Counties should consider renting fire dispatch communications equipment, instead of buying, suggested UCPR CAO Stephane Parisien on March 8.

He said he liked what he heard during a presentation from a company called Turris at The Nation Municipality. “It’s eye-opening,” he said. The company would charge a monthly fee for fire dispatch communication equipment for the eight municipalities in Prescott and Russell. The current analog equipment being used must be replaced soon, but so far it has been unclear how much it will cost or how it will be done.

Parisien said Turris estimated renting equipment for all eight municipalities would cost $400,000 yearly, and said he recommended setting up a similar presentation for the United Counties council.

Local mayors agreed, with Hawkesbury Mayor Jeanne Charlebois suggesting all of the fire chiefs should be invited as well.

The Nation Municipality Mayor said he feels new communication equipment is an urgent issue in his municipality, especially because of its large geographical area. “If a situation arises where there’s a lack of communication…we all know that it’s when we know we have a problem and we don’t act, we can be in trouble,” he said. The prices presented by Turris were encouraging, he added.

Counties Warden Gary Barton said Parisien should set up an information meeting with Turris apart from a regular council or committee of the whole meeting.

This issue of fire dispatch equipment upgrades is separate from fire dispatch contracts. The United Counties is also currently negotiating a contract with Hawkesbury’s dispatch service on behalf of six Prescott-Russell municipalities.