The fiber is a method by which we connect our internal communications together. It connects all data streams to all buildings (mostly public safety) including communications, data, phones, Internet, our servers and applications, and the tower and once it exists we are free from commercial carriers for all of these things between our facilities.
While there are other means to do this each leg of fiber we install improves reliability, provides redundancy, provides speed, eliminated ongoing costs for T1, phone line, trunk lines, and all sorts of monthly costs.
Having the fiber looped ensures that even in a circumstance where the fiber is damaged or broken we will not lose connectivity. Without the looping we would have a vulnerability if anything failed.
One of the things I am aware of is that a while back the NCTCOG oversaw a "gap" analysis. The purpose of this was to determine where public safety communications had gaps with regard to interoperability. The idea was to figure out what equipment was needed throughout the metroplex to bring everyone into compliance with the FCC requirement. I am on the committee that made these recommendations at NCTCOG. This committee is the REPAC (regional emergency preparedness advisory committee). The purpose of this initiative helped agencies determine needs and in some cases subsidize the infrastructure needed to meet the needs.
Below is the link to the National Emergency Communications Plan. It doesn't cite Rowlett specifically, but it presents the goal that Rowlett is trying to attain. In view of the current international turmoil, good communications might be a good tool to have in the tool box. Only radio aficionados will feel the need to read the whole thing.
Below is the response from Neil Howard, Rowlett Fire Chief. It is an interesting read.
It was a pleasure meeting you today. Let me start by thanking you for your interest and concern about Proposition 3 on the upcoming Bond Election. I wanted to share with you a few facts that we are only able to articulate if citizens attend a public meeting.
First, the training facility is going to be a multi-department facility. It will benefit Public Works, Police, Fire and our Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT). All will be involved in the final planning of the facility. It will prepare our departments for those low frequency, high risk incidents. Some examples of these for police are, high risk warrant service, barricaded persons calls, and multi-Story building searches. Some examples for public works are, confined space operations incidents such as in lift stations, and trench operations safety and collapse response. This required training would otherwise be typically conducted out of town with the expense of travel and backfilling staff when necessary. Examples for the fire department are trapped victims at residential fires, flashover and dynamic fire event training, trench rescue, ventilation and extinguishment at residential structure fires and confined space rescue. The Citizen’s Emergency Response Team (CERT) will have the ability to train at the location and maybe host events like the CERT games, where teams will come from across the state to train together. Additionally, the other emergency services volunteer groups will utilize this facility from time to time. This includes Volunteer’s in Police Services (VIPS) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES). In addition to the training benefits to multiple city groups, there also exists the potential to rent the facility out to other agencies. This potential revenue could be used to offset the expense of the tower.
We have heard concerns about the location of the training facility and the effects on the present and future development in the area. This has been a concern of ours, and we have been sensitive from the beginning of the planning of this project. We plan on having a “living screen” around most of the site. This would provide our neighbors an esthetically pleasing look. It would be far from the industrial look about which some have had concerns. The intention is to utilize natural foliage and landscaping in order to facilitate the blending in of the site with its surroundings.
I believe another outstanding issues deals with the costs associated with design. It is important to know the design costs allocated are for the design of the overall project and site plan, not simply the future fire station. This part of the project will provide design for training tower, the water retention requirements, parking, drive ways, municipal utilities, a communications antenna, as well as the footprint of the future fire station.
The last issue I’d like to address is the eventual relocation of Fire Station #2 to the Schrade Rd. site. The current Fire Station #2 located at 5101 Dalrock Rd. was opened in 1986. The station was built to last 20 years. Now, as it nears its 30th year of service, the facility has outlived its useful life. The planning for this began approximately 7 years ago. Initially, it was thought the station could be rebuilt at its current location on Dalrock Rd. However, it was determined the site was too small to accommodate the larger fire station needed to meet current and future service demands. Therefore, a search was conducted centered around locating property in close proximity to the Dalrock property that was affordable. Eventually, the property on Schrade Rd. was selected. While the building of the new station was delayed, the need for it has not. Actually the Schrade site is closer to I-30 and the center of that response district of the city. This will better facilitate emergency response in that district, which now includes the newly acquired Elgin B Robertson property.
I hope this addresses some of your reader’s concerns as well as yours. As always, if you have questions please reach out to us.
There are some charts and graphs I could attach, but this thing is already too long. I may attach them later.
So there we have it. I find it interesting that Chief Howard only made a passing, almost unnoticed, reference to the radio tower ("communications antenna") above. As I understood it, it was the major reason for locating the facilities on Schrade.
At some point, someone has to trust someone. I suppose we're at that point. There's no time left to negotiate. The election is May 9th. I know and like Brian and Jim. I have met and like Neil Howard, the Fire Chief. I would say to them that my loyalties lie with the City of Rowlett, as theirs should. I would further say that because of the location of this facility, there is some danger that an unattractive, utilitarian looking building setting right in the middle of an upscale residential area could severely hurt property values. That costs ALL taxpayers money. "Officialdom" says the location is in a commercially zoned area. That is true, but only for short distances. The realm of influence is far beyond the commercial zoning. The realm of influence captures some very expensive homes, not to mention Rowlett's image when new comer travelers drive up and down Dalrock Road. To look at some arithmetic, I drove the affected neighborhood again. Slipshod planning, construction and landscaping could influence at least 50 houses in the area. If the homes average $250K in value (and they average more) that equals $12.5 million in value. If the fire training facility negatively affects the values by a modest 10%, our tax base loses $1,250,000 in value, or at $7.80 per hundred, $97,500 in revenue every year. All Rowlett taxpayers have to make that up.........and that's in addition to the expected costs of the proposed facility. That's how important the appearance of the facility becomes. The above is the same as tacking on another $100K in operating expenses every year. It would make good sense to do everything possible to NOT effect values in the area.
At this point, with limited time remaining, I have to trust the people I like. However, if we, the citizens of Rowlett, end up with a trashy looking, slipshod, poorly hidden and landscaped facility, I will throw a wall eyed fit. I would feel betrayed. I will buy printer's ink by the barrel. I can almost assure you I can get an opportunity to write for some other publications besides this blog. I will make Rowlett "officialdom" really not like me very much.