Gateway Gazette

New First Responder Radio System Launching July 1 Will Better Protect Albertans

The launch of the Alberta First Responders Radio Communications System (AFRRCS) will let first responders communicate with each other more effectively.

The Provincewide radio communication system will provide coverage for first responders through a system of hundreds of radio towers. Currently, all police, emergency medical and fire services in Alberta use their own stand-alone radio systems that generally do not communicate with one another. AFRRCS will make a networked system available to emergency personnel starting July 1.
The Provincewide radio communication system will provide coverage for first responders through a system of hundreds of radio towers. Currently, all police, emergency medical and fire services in Alberta use their own stand-alone radio systems that generally do not communicate with one another. AFRRCS will make a networked system available to emergency personnel starting July 1.

“This important project will help protect the lives of Albertans, from families to first responders. This provincewide radio system will ensure that the people who keep us safe every day have the communication network they need to respond as quickly and as
co-ordinated as possible.”

Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“Our work is done in all of our RCMP units across Alberta, and AFRRCS will provide radio coverage in major urban centres and in the remote locations where public and officer safety are equally critical. While the new radio system is about providing first responders with a vital tool to do their important work, it also demonstrates what can be achieved by multiple partners coming together to work towards a common goal.”

Marianne Ryan, Deputy Commissioner, Alberta RCMP

The system has been tested extensively and was used recently during the Fort McMurray wildfire crisis. AFRRCS radios were issued to emergency personnel from across the province and country, enabling firefighters to communicate with each other and the operations centre.

“The AFRRCS was absolutely crucial for us and all of our partners as we battled the Fort McMurray wildfire. The system allowed us to communicate efficiently with 32 different fire departments during the biggest crisis in our region’s history. We thank the Government of Alberta for this important investment that will help keep us all safe and out of harm’s way – now and in the future.”

Brad Grainger, Deputy Chief, Fort McMurray Fire Department

“The new system improves our ability to respond to patients and enhances staff safety. With all crews on one radio system, we can better co-ordinate emergency response when Albertans call for help and can provide immediate support to our crews no matter where they are located across the province.”

Marty Scott, Executive Director, EMS Provincial Programs, Alberta Health Services

“As we move forward with AFRRCS, we are looking to ensure that we deliver a seamless, quality service to Edmontonians and all Albertans. Through this new radio system we will improve interoperability with our partners that will allow for a more co-ordinated and focused response to the issues that we face daily. ”

Brian Roberts, Acting Chief Administrative Officer, Edmonton Police Service

Quick facts

  • Construction on AFRRCS began in 2008 and will be completed this summer.
  • Of the 332 sites, 328 are completed.
  • The total cost of the project was $438 million.
  • The AFRRCS system will help participating first responders to fully co-ordinate joint responses to emergency scenes, improve and integrate radio communication among first responders from different agencies, and reduce the cost of radio system infrastructure.

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