Lugoff, SC (WLTX) – The Lugoff Fire Department is working to upgrade their radio system.

They are one of the several agencies across the state taking part in Project 25, which means they are switching their radio system from analog to digital.

“Every radio system has coverage gaps to where you have areas that’s not quite good as good a signal or maybe tough to communicate. This will allow different counties through the state to install new sites to give us even better communications coverage,” Lugoff Fire Chief Dennis Ray explained.

Ray said one of the biggest problems during every major disaster is communication.

“We have to grow that system as our needs grow,” the fire chief said. “This will enhance that.”

Ray said to make the switch, the department had to update their software, tune radios, and reprogram them with a new statewide template. He said the switch cost them $3,000.

Palmetto 800 is the statewide radio system that is owned and operated by Motorola Solutions.

“It will be better. This will enhance the Palmetto 800 system that we’re on now, because it will be able to have a digital signal,” Lugoff Fire Department Radio Communications Coordinator Chris Jones said.

Jones said the current system is limited by the number of sites that can be added, but the new system will allow for more.

“If we have a dead area, there’s no more expansion of the system. So, so by upgrading, Palmetto 800 is able to expand the system and add more sites and better coverage throughout the state,” the radio communications coordinator said.

Ray says the switch will give them a wider coverage area and a stronger signal to communicate and to get to people who need help faster.

“The community has to have confidence in their emergency services,” Ray said.

The statewide switch is expected to be completed by the end of October.

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