CLEVELAND -- When lives are on the line and seconds mean everything, communication between first responders can be a life and death issue.
The City of Cleveland is in the process of installing a sweeping digital radio system costing almost $32 million that should help "protectors" protect you.
"It's something essential for the safety of the community. It's expensive, but it's essential," said Safety Director Marty Flask.
He says when citizens call 9-1-1, they can be more confident of a quicker and appropriate response.
Cleveland's present radio system is 20 years old.
The new system will allow suburbs to participate with all police, fire, and EMS systems able to instantly communicate with each other, something that cannot happen now with 47 separate communications system.
Eight suburbs are in line to participate already. The system's being phased in. Some city workers are already connected.
Cuyahoga County Sheriff's deputies have been using the new system for several months and it's getting rave reviews.
"It's an absolutely fantastic, completely robust system. It's effective in 97 percent of the county, including inside buildings," said Sheriff's Lt. Bryan Smith.
And there have been no glitches or hitches thusfar.
The shootings at Success Tech in Cleveland and the recent massive Cleveland police chase that ended in a barrage of gunfire killing two suspects are incidents where radio communications were an issue.
Flask reminds us that radios are just one important tool.
"The system will simplify some things experienced November 29. But at the end of the day, it's all about supervisory leadership, making sure people do what they need to do," he said.
Cleveland Police, firefighers and paramedics should all be using radios by late this year.
The system is equipped to handle 12,000 separate radios.
It's called the Motorola 800 MHz ASTRO 25 7.11 IP.