State Fire Marshal Kevin S. Reardon is pleased to announce the first round of recipients of the 2021 MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communications Systems) grant, which includes 242 fire departments in 46 counties throughout Ohio.
The MARCS radio system allows first responders to seamlessly communicate, not only with each other, but with other agencies responding to an incident (i.e. fire departments from neighboring areas, law enforcement, etc.).
“Having first responders on this state-of-the-art radio system goes a long way in improving emergency services in these counties, which greatly improves the level of safety for them and the communities they protect,” said Marshal Reardon. “I’m honored to continue this great legacy of supporting Ohio’s responders.”
MARCS radios are sophisticated systems, and the cost can be significant. In order to make more radios possible for local fire departments, the State Fire Marshal’s (SFM) office has begun decreasing the amount of user fees awarded. This year, SFM received more than $9 million in requests for the $3 million in total available funding.
“This is a highly competitive process that requires us to make some tough choices in order to enhance the system,” said Reardon. “The emphasis of this grant has always been to grow the MARCS program, and our ultimate goal is to one day have every department in Ohio on this system.”
Key facts about the program include:
• 240 fire departments in 45 counties received approximately $1.5 million in grants, half the $3 million in available funding.
• Priority funding went to departments that applied as part of a regional or countywide effort, and departments that showed they are prepared to use the radios immediately.
• This is the sixth year the State Fire Marshal’s office has offered this grant.
Second-round recipients will be announced in late January.
Richland County fire departments receiving first round awards are: