Fire, police and sheriff’s dispatchers in Glenwood and surrounding communities can once again use the radio for calls, after a big local tower was downed this week. Communications director Randy Thompson explains it happened Tuesday afternoon. He got a call saying a local contractor doing some work in the area snagged a guy wire, which pulled the tower, and it then snapped back and broke off about 160 feet from the ground. Thompson’s in just his fourth week on the job, but he can name a lot of things that depended on that broken tower. Mills County Community Center for law-enforcement, fire and EMS, paging, American Relay Internet Service for the town, Glenwood schools, the Glenwood street department, Mills County engineer, and local ham radio operators had their link on the tower for sending spotter reports to the weather service. That’s not the only tower in Mills County, but Thompson says it wasn’t as easy as switching to another one. Dedicated phone circuitry for the radios all goes to that antennas, so they dropped the broken section, put up some utility poles to hold all the antennas, and they’re up and operating. Luckily, no emergencies came up in the barely 24 hours the tower’s antennas were out of commission and emergency radio are still not operating at full strength, He says they don’t have the normal distance, but can talk to and page fire trucks and ambulances. Thompson says eventually they will have to build a complete new tower and hope to find that insurance will pay for it.
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