Livermore Falls sets up dispatch equipment when communications tower goes off-line

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LIVERMORE FALLS — The Police Department’s old emergency dispatching equipment was put to use late Tuesday to allow firefighters to be paged out, if needed, after a communications tower went down for nearly 90 minutes.

There is a backup generator for the Moose Hill tower, but it didn’t kick in, police Chief Ernest Steward Jr. said Wednesday.

Police were notified that the tower wasn’t working at 11:40 p.m. It was back in service at 1:06 a.m. Wednesday.

Police officers initially communicated with Androscoggin County dispatchers by cellphone, but then switched over to a Leeds communications tower frequency the county uses.

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“The only thing I was worried about is that in case there was a fire or bad accident having to page out a lot of people,” he said, to respond to an emergency.

Steward responded from home to set up the equipment and program the frequency needed so it could work without the use of a repeater. The department still has the dispatching equipment that was used prior to Livermore Falls residents voting in 2009 to close down the local dispatch center and contract with Androscoggin County to provide dispatch services.

Radio traffic comes from Androscoggin County over the Internet to the police station, and then it is sent to the repeater on the tower on Moose Hill.

“When towers go down, the only thing we have is the antennas on our building,” he said.

No emergency pages were needed to be sent out during the time the tower was down.

Steward alerted a repairman about U.S. Cellular’s backup generator not working so it could be fixed.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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