Conrad council approves fire department radio purchase

The Conrad city council unanimously authorized the fire department to spend up to $10,000 on four new communication radios during last Thursday night’s regular meeting.


As firefighter Grant Benson put it, the current 800 mhz analog devices are simply getting old and should be replaced with 700 mhz digital radios. Ineffective communication can often mean the difference between getting to a fire quickly (and therefore, stopping it from spreading) and allowing it to spread and cause more damage. It’s even happened on recent calls due to weak signals with the cell towers just outside of Grundy Center and in Marshalltown.


“We’re kind of at a point where (the current radios) are only going to be good for a few more months or maybe a year,” Benson said. “Within the next—well, anytime now—these are just going to be a glorified paperweight.”


Each new unit costs approximately $2,400, and the sheriff’s departments in Grundy, Hardin and Marshall Counties are all using similar radios. Benson and fellow firefighter Chris Harris initially asked the council for the go-ahead to purchase two devices, but councilman Todd Schnathorst suggested that they replace all four and “be done with it.” 


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