ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - First responders in St. Johns county are learning lessons from a gas station explosion in St. Augustine two summers ago that nearly killed one man and could have taken the lives of first responders as well.
"People were walking over each other, transmissions were not going out, transmissions were not being heard," says St. Johns County assistant fire chief Jeff Prevatt.
When a BP station blew up in August of 2011, some radio calls and transmissions between public safety agencies went unanswered, and Prevatt says they realized how lucky they were things didn't get worse because of those unanswered calls, so they have a new radio system.
"Each public safety agency has their own independent channels and what the new system does is it pools the channels together and all public safety agencies within the county will operate using all the same frequencies," Prevatt said.
The cost, however, might unsettle some taxpayers. The price tag was $24.5 million but Prevatt says it's worth it in the long run because it will prevent calls from going unanswered in the future, which can be the difference between life and death in a situation like what happened at the BP station.