The Richmond Hill City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday night to spend $50,215 on new fire department radios. The money will come from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.
Both fire stations will get base radios, which they do not currently have. Fire Chief Ralph Catlett said that will help the city’s rating with the Insurance Services Office, a rating organization that provides analytics to insurance companies.
The money will also buy new portable radios, replacing some that are more than a dozen years old.
“None of the radios we have now are intrinsically safe,” Catlett said. “These will be. It’s hard to put a price tag on firefighter safety.”
While the term “intrinsic” is generally associated with the nature or value of something, with radios, it refers to the fact that they are electronic devices. Intrinsically safe radios mean they can be used without fear of creating a potential spark.
“The portable radios we have now, for example, could not be used in a hazardous or explosive atmosphere, such as at the scene of a gas leak,” Catlett said.
The radios should be delivered in 30 to 60 days, Catlett said.
In other business, the council voted 4-0 to approve a Georgia Department of Transportation resolution related to the proposed roundabouts at the interchange for Highway 144 and Interstate 95. The vote was related to previous council action, when it voted to guarantee that the city of would provide the electricity needed for street lights at the roundabouts, but sparked more discussion about the efficacy of roundabouts.
“Are there any other roundabouts at interstate exits we could look at to see if they actually work?” Councilwoman Jan Bass asked.
City Manager Chris Lovell said that every model GDOT has run shows that roundabouts do not result in worse traffic flows.
Assistant City Manager Scott Allison said GDOT’s numbers show about the same amount of traffic at the intersection coming from Fort Stewart as from I-95.
“We’re just happy they’re looking at improving the traffic flow,” he said.
Councilman Johnny Murphy said he is at the roundabout on Highway 144 at Capt. Matthew Freeman Drive up to 10 times a day and seldom sees vehicles traveling on 144 have to come to a complete stop.
The roundabouts near I-95 are slated for 2019.