In October 2021, Plum Grove Fire Chief Frazier and Fire Chief Autrey announced a plan to bring the department up to communications standards. The department had lost access to its radio frequency repeated over two years prior when the KSBJ Radio Tower in Plum Grove was sold. Additionally, the department had lost most radio communications with Montgomery County fire departments when Montgomery County switched to a new system more than a decade ago.
The proposed communications plan used $10,000 that had been reimbursed through a training equipment grant to erect a communications tower at the Plum Grove Volunteer Fire Department and required the purchase of multi-band radios capable of communicating with surrounding departments on both VHF and 700/800 MHz frequencies.
The City of Plum Grove was supportive of the tower project and Mike Wing, a former chief officer from Montgomery County, assisted with ensuring that the tower was built correctly and within standards.
In July, the tower was built, and the department’s repeater was finally back online. In September, the department finalized its order for the first six multi-band radios. The department has received those six radios and is currently field testing them for deployment. This month, the department reached its next phase of the project, being awarded $34,681 in funding from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Grant for 10 additional multi-band handheld radios.
“This project has been a large undertaking for the department and required all the members of the department to help complete the project with limited funding. Several of the members put in long weekends with Mike Wing, building the tower themselves piece by piece in the heat, while still ensuring that emergency calls were answered,” said Chief Brandon Frazier in an emailed statement. “The department has more to go, including obtaining a few more handheld and mobile radios, but is excited to finally have communication back with the fire departments surrounding them and even more excited to be making major strides regarding the Texas Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan.”