Montrose Fire Protection District Awarded Assistance to Firefighter Grant

Apr 25th @ 6:04 am in News by Scott Staley

Montrose County

Montrose Fire Protection District (MFPD) recently partnered with Montrose County in order to apply for funds through FEMA’s AFG program.  The application was awarded $382,051 on April 19, 2013, will be used to replace dispatch radio equipment at the Montrose Regional Dispatch Center (MRDC).

The MRDC is a function of the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office and provides dispatching services for 31 local emergency response agencies which collectively serve approximately 55,000 citizens in Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties.  “This grant, and subsequent equipment upgrades, provides Montrose Fire and other users improved radio quality and reliability of communications between dispatch and personnel.  This upgrade benefits the entire region and is the main reason why we agreed to apply for the funds and partner with Montrose County,” said MFPD Chief Tad Rowan.

Nate Wick/Daily Press
County Commissioner Gary Ellis adjusts the personal climate controls at one of the dispatch work stations in the new dispatch office at the Justice Center Annex on Wednesday.

The existing dispatch radio equipment is no longer operationally reliable and must be replaced. The manufacturer no longer provides replacement parts and has begun the process of phasing the radio make and model out of service.  Additionally, the MRDC is at maximum capacity both technologically and physically, and must expand in order to accommodate the increased demand for services.

“With over 37 years of experience in law enforcement, I know how critical a role dispatchers play in public safety,” said Montrose County Commissioner Gary Ellis.  “Through a great partnership with MFPD, we were able to secure much needed funding to better equip our dispatch professionals.”  This upgraded equipment will increase the center’s functionality, operational stability and enhance the interface between dispatchers and emergency response personnel, including law enforcement, EMS and fire.  In alignment with priority three in the Montrose County Strategic Business Plan, the radio upgrade increases MRDC’s capacity to provide public safety by staffing additional dispatchers as needed to cover high call volumes and large-scale emergencies. 

Replacing the dispatch radio equipment is the final step in a multi-year, multi-agency project.  Multiple agencies have contributed to the upgrade, as reflected in the table below.  Montrose County is in the process of establishing a fund that is dedicated to emergency communication equipment replacements for future upgrades, which will reduce the county’s need to use state or federal funds in future years.

Montrose Regional Communication Center Upgrade Contributors

Contribution Amount

Purpose of Expenditures
San Miguel Emergency Telephone Authority (SMETSA)


Desk consoles
Montrose Emergency Telephone Authority (METSA)


Cassidian 911 Telephone System


Montrose County


Operating supplies and equipment





$42 ,450

Cash match to AFG award*


Cash match to DOLA award**
FEMA—Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG)


Federal grant award to purchase (7) Motorola MCC7500 Dispatch Consoles
Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Mineral and Energy Impact Award


State grant award to cover remaining cost of dispatch consoles/electrical/coax waveguide/etc.**

* The cash match to the AFG award will be provided through the Montrose County Public Safety Sales Tax fund once the Montrose Fire Protection District and Montrose County have contracted to accept the award.

** The total award amount remains unknown at this time.  DOLA’s match amount is 25 percent of award.  The cash match will be provided through the Montrose County Public Safety Sales Tax fund.