Mosley, speaking to members of the Harlan County E-911 Advisory Board during a meeting at the Harlan County Courthouse, said he has finally received a response from Cingular officials about a lack of service throughout the county after months of attempting to seek information on what he has referred to as “a major public safety issue.”
Mosley said he has been informed that plans to improve cell phone communications are in the works, and county residents could see results by spring of 2007. He said he has also learned that a delay in improving services appears to be the result of what would amount to an extensive site development - because Cingular “can build five tower sites in central and western Kentucky for the cost of one here,” he said.
Mosley said it has been requested that he not openly discuss plans for an additional cell phone tower or towers at this point, but did report that Cingular is aiming to enhance its services “in an especially large area of the county that has been deprived of cell phone communication since the inception of the cell phone.”
A section of U.S. 421 between Cranks Creek and Chevrolet has been an area of concern for county officials because that stretch of highway not only lacks cell phone service, but has few residences. There would be little, if any at all, assistance in the event of an accident, Mosley said.
A petition with nearly 5,000 signatures requesting improved cell phone communications in the county has been sent to Cingular and Gov. Ernie Fletcher's office, he said.
In other news:
-- Danny Caudill, chief of police in Harlan, said there have been “no major problems” with the department's dispatching services for the cities of Benham and Lynch. He said it is still unclear if Cumberland will officially transfer its dispatching services after a recent 30-day testing period with the department.
“They're pretty divided up there,” Caudill said, adding that the Cumberland City Council is expected to further discuss the issue at this evening's city council meeting at city hall at 6:30. Mosley said there have been no complaints about Benham and Lynch's dispatching services.
-- Mosley reported that the county's emergency management and first responders agencies are NIMS (National Incident Management System) compliant. The county, he said, was the fifth in the Cumberland Valley Area Development District to update its NIMS assessments, nationally required valuations that must be completed in order to be eligible for federal, state or local funding. Mosley said the county's agencies completed its assessments in late July.
-- A 911 education program for children could be implemented in local classrooms as soon as next month, Mosley said. The program will be available to all students, but will target second-graders in educating them on the uses and purposes of 911, as well as knowing by memory their physical addresses.
-- The Tri-City Emergency Rescue Squad has appointed Star Stewart and/or Justin Newsome to represent the agency at future board meetings.
-- Mosley requested that fire chiefs locate and determine the capacity of at least two churches in their communities in the event the churches could be utilized for shelter purposes during disasters. He said the board was “in the process of updating information.”