Montana/Dakotas

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Excess Radios Go to Worden Fire Department

Mary Apple
Public Affairs Specialist
Montana State Office

photo of Lance Taylor and fire engine

Lance Taylor, chief of the Worden Fire Department, holds one of the radios his department recently purchased form the BLM.  He said the new radios will greatly improve communications among firefighters throughout the Huntley Project.
Photo by Tracy Livingston

The Montana/Dakotas BLM recently assisted the Worden Fire Department (WFD) with the acquisition of much-needed communication equipment. The BLM sold 33 portable radios, complete with accessories, to the Worden Fire Department for the bargain basement price of $25 each.

Lance Taylor, chief of Worden Fire, worked with Alan Miller, BLM electronics technician, to lay the groundwork for the sale of the equipment. A chance conversation between former BLM volunteer Tracy Livingston and Stuart Andersen (a Worden Fire volunteer) led to the contact between Taylor and Miller. Miller said it was the first major excess of radio equipment to local cooperators out of his radio shop. The BLM utilizes handheld and mobile radio equipment to communicate during wildland fires and in the course of normal business.

According to Taylor, “This deal has helped out the WFD more than words can say. We were in the Dark Ages when it came to communications. Some of our radios were 12 to 15 years old, and most were starting to break down and become more and more unreliable. We purchased our newest ones several years ago through a county-wide grant; they had become totally useless, to say the least. This purchase has saved us tens of thousands of dollars and will allow us to focus on other needs. We appreciate both Tracy Livingston’s and the BLM’s help with this opportunity, which will enhance the safety of the firefighters on the Huntley Project.”

The radios not only provide much needed communications throughout the Huntley Project, they will allow Worden Fire to meet the Federal Communications Commission narrowband mandate effective in 2012.

The BLM has the authority to surplus its used equipment by selling to local fire departments at a fraction of the purchase cost. The BLM then puts the sales proceeds toward the cost of replacements. The entire transaction is a win/win for both federal and local governments. Local departments interested in this property program should contact Alan Miller at 406-896-5275 for more information.