Upgrades helping keep South Boston firefighters and the community safer

SOUTH BOSTON (WSLS 10) - Currently, all of the doors at the South Boston Fire Department have standard key locks, meaning someone has to use a key to lock and unlock the doors.

But, when a call goes out, firefighters can get in a rush and forget to lock the doors or they may not have time to check and make sure all the doors are locked.

"A lot of times we run, go on, calls our doors are open. Our equipment is very valuable and it's left exposed," stressed South Boston Fire Department Lt. Daniel Clark.

The department plans to use a $7,500 grant, which Clark wrote, to install a keycard system so the doors will automatically lock when they're closed.

"It's something we've looked at for a long time. Basically, we use keys now. We want better control of access to the building,' said South Boston Fire Chief Steve Phillips. "it will give us a lot of peace of mind knowing that our building is secure."

A second grant for $27,816 will allow the department to replace its decades-old tornado siren and move it off the roof and onto a pole, like the one at the public works building, so the sound can travel farther.

"The electronics in the sirens that we have is getting ol and we've already had to replace one of them," Phillips explained.

The upgrade will also include new radio equipment that will allow the dispatch center to set off the sirens around town.

Currently, the sirens are controlled at the fire department but if all of the firefighters are out on a call then the sirens won't get set off.

"A lot of times, when the weather gets really bad right before a tornado warning we may already be out on calls," said Chief Phillips.

He says everything should be done early next year.

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