TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– The Board of Public Works approved over $1.1 million in spending by the Terre Haute Fire Department to purchase new radios, an upgrade firefighters say was desperately needed to upgrade their safety communications.

The approval was finalized earlier in the week. Battalion chief Scott Dalton said the current radios have a number of issues.

“They’re about 13 years old, and they take a lot of beatings throughout the course of our job,” he said. “They are having a high failure rate. There were also some compliance standards that the state of Indiana does not recognize our current radios so we knew we would have to upgrade.”

Dalton said these problems put both his staff, and the public, at risk.

“One of the top five recommendations or problems that fire departments have with firefighter fatalities are lack of communication. So it’s very concerning to us when our radios are not working or they have a failure rate,” he said.

The new radios will have a number of new features that should increase firefighter safety. Dalton said THFD will receive around 100 portable radios, meant for firefighters to carry, and about 30 radios meant to go in the fire trucks.

He said they hope to receive the new equipment before the end of 2022.