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Howard County's Emergency Communications Tower is Still Down

Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief Tommy Sullivan tells us, he is worried for the citizens he protects.
A communications tower collapses and forces emergency services to use old technology to cover Howard County. Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief Tommy Sullivan tells us, he is worried for the citizens he protects.

“We may be out there fighting fire and they try to contact us and we can’t hear it,” said Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief, Tommy Sullivan.

Howard county's volunteer fire department communications tower crumbled in a metal mess due to the wintery weather in November.

“It can endanger my firefighters and the citizens of Howard County,” said Sullivan.

Used my many agencies, Chief Tommy Sullivan tells me if it’s not rebuilt soon there could be a disaster for Howard County and its residents.

“Our winter wildfire season kicks off January, and then in February mid to late February we start setting the 40-50 mile and hour winds,” said Sullivan.

The area the volunteer firefighters cover isn't small it’s roughly 900 square miles.

“Having a bunch of major wildfires going at the same time being on the same frequency sharing with Big Spring Fire Department….They are going to rub against eachother and overrun eachothers traffic,” said Sullivan.

And delays could ensue.

“Seconds save lives,” said Sullivan.

With slow communications, firefighters face greater risks.

“Me as a fire chief I am taking my people knowing that the risk is out there,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan explains he spoke with Howard County officials about replacing the tower, but he isn’t being heard. He hopes to use FEMA dollars from the 2011 wildfire season, but hasn't seen a dime.

“Were being treated like we don’t know what we’re doing or what we’re talking about,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan just wants the tower fixed, but isn't sure if he will be around to see it finished.

“I have been doing this for 30 years and I’m considering whether to keep going to 31,” said Sullivan

Sullivan will be meeting with the County Commissioners next week, and hopes they can establish a timeline and expedite the rebuilding of the communications tower.

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