Tango Tango sounds promising for first responders

Local Emergency Planning Committee holds quarterly meeting

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The Kingsbury County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) met Monday evening in the basement of the Sheriff’s office. Representatives were from the Kingsbury County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Departments and Ambulance Services in Kingsbury County. Attendees were treated to a light meal and official business began at 6 p.m.

Currently, Iroquois and Lake Preston Fire Departments are in a trial period with a new service/app called Tango Tango. It is an app that is compatible with Androids and Apple phones. It is used to communicate to other first responders by using your phone like a portable radio. The app is subscription based and charges by the number of radio frequencies the service will monitor and by the number of users.

It was reported that Clark County just subscribed to this app and service. Reports from Lake Preston and Iroquois were mostly in favor of the new app. The only downfall noted was the alerting portion of the service did not send a physical address to your screen. You could hear the address in the alerting tone, but it did not send the address to your screen.

A similar app some services use is “I am Responding.” It shows the physical address of the call/page an agency is responding to and allows a user to map a GPS route through their phone.

Fire department and ambulance radios can cost around $2,000 a piece but have their downfalls. At the scene of large incident, traffic may become congested, or radio use can be hindered by other radios’ feedback and electronic equipment. The radios have difficulty inside a steel, concrete or masonry constructed building. The volunteers at the meeting were saying their pagers had difficulty monitoring, but when using Tango Tango, the pages and radio traffic came through the phone crystal clear.

Using Tango Tango would not be advisable for structure fires or hazardous material calls, because a cell phone is not made for those conditions; a responder would need an ungloved finger to touch the phone screen. It would be a great aid to just talk to a selected member, send a group or agency update, or even notify dispatch of a call a first responder may have come across.

The more users and agencies that collaborated on the app’s use, the cheaper the cost would be. The LEPC will investigate what services Kingsbury County responders would need, and the costs involved if the program were implemented county-wide. Costs were discussed between the county organizations, and it is hoped the county would assist financially with the implementation of the app/service. The item would have to be added to the agenda for an upcoming county commissioners’ meeting and approved. American Rescue Plan funds would seem like a logical source for funds through the county, but they would need to consult with a lawyer on the appropriateness of the funds for that purpose.

For more information on the Tango Tango app/service please visit: tangotango.net

Attendees were advised about Firefighters’ Grants that are available. The deadline for these grants is Dec. 8. Fire departments can use these grants to assist with purchasing turnout gear, self-contained breathing apparatuses or equipment used in fighting fires. Four agencies in the county said they were filing for the grants.

Homeland Security is offering grants as well. Applications are being accepted Jan. 1, 2022, to Feb. 18, 2022. These grants can fund a range of preparedness activities including planning, organization, equipment purchases, training, exercises and management and administration across all mission areas.

Several agencies in Kingsbury County have received grants to assist with purchasing base, mobile and handheld radios. Some handheld radios can cost around $2,000 per unit.

The last grants the agencies were notified about were the Local Emergency Planning Committee’s.

Kingsbury County agencies also reviewed their current hazardous material plans and reviewed facilities that should be added. Any facility storing flammable material or hazardous material in Kingsbury County needs to be listed in the Hazmat Plans.

The Hazmat Plans must be submitted to the state every five years, and Kingsbury County will be required to submit theirs in 2023.

Kingsbury County’s Emergency Manager reported to the membership about a winter weather virtual awareness class to be held Dec. 7.

The meeting was adjourned at 8 p.m.

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