A little over a year ago, Miami County, Kansas faced a serious dilemma: its public safety radio system had become unstable and unreliable. Recognizing the reliance Police and Fire users place on reliable, secure communications, the County Board of Commissioners declared an emergency, thereby elevating replacement of its radio system to the highest priority. Immediately, the replacement project was off to a fast start, but then COVID hit. The project team had to adapt to many challenges, some routine but others treading into uncharted territory.
Actions as simple as gaining approval for tower site leases got bogged down when face-to-face meeting were curtailed. Getting equipment delivered when factories were shut down became a logistical nightmare. There were other COVID challenges too.
Several days before the important microwave installation team was scheduled to arrive out of Texas, the entire team caught the virus and spent several weeks isolated in a hotel rooms. When the quarantine period ended, the team was shocked to find their vehicles had been stolen. Still, the project’s consultant and vendor teams continued to adapt and push the project forward.
Soon, the project’s deployment was running up against the Christmas holidays. While most people were home drinking hot chocolate, enjoying time with their families, and anxiously awaiting a COVID vaccine, the project pushed on. A key radio communications shelter was needed and needed now. Nobody wanted to work over the holidays, but its installation was important to getting reliable communications restored for Miami County’s first responders.
The shelter’s installation date was locked in and a truck laden with the heavy concrete shelter was lumbering toward Miami County. Then the night before, the National Weather Service delivered some unpleasant news: Miami County was placed under a winter weather advisory and was facing a severe ice storm.
This concerned everyone, where personal safety was always a top priority, but the team could not risk losing the shelter’s delivery. The need had become that critical. A decision was made to try it. The next morning, during the ice storm, a crane was set up and the crew successfully offloaded the shelter.
Despite the treacherous conditions the radio system’s key equipment shelter was installed, and the project secured. Doing so was an amazing demonstration of the team’s ingenuity and dedication towards Miami County – overcoming all obstacles to secure this project’s important life-critical mission.