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Local clubs help fund new pagers for PYFD

John Christensen
The Chronicle-Express

PENN YAN – There is strength in numbers, and the combined memberships of three local organizations pooled have their resources to help solve a problem for the Penn Yan Volunteer Fire Department.

PYFD Chief Frank Ellis made it his mission this year to replace the members’ aging pagers, which are vital to their ability to respond to emergencies but were breaking down more and more often. As a member of the Moose, Ellis approached the club to see if they would contribute to get some new pagers, since they had generously donated $500 recently to buy smoke detectors for those in need.

The group that got the money ball rolling, Penn Yan Moose Lodge 2030, gave $4,000 to buy the new Unication G1 pagers held by Penn Yan Fire Department Assistant Chiefs (from left) Ricky Simpson, Derek Christensen, Mike Petersen, and Chief Frank Ellis.

Hearing the volunteer firefighters’ plight and knowing the importance of the services they provide, the Moose came through with a donation of $4,000 right away.

Penn Yan FIre Department Chief Frank Ellis and the Penn Yan Elks Lodge #1722 Exalted Ruler Claudia Baldwin hold the Elks’ check for $4,000 for the new pagers.

With the news of that need and hearing of the generosity of one club, the Penn Yan Elks Lodge voted to to match that with their own contribution of another $4,000 to support PYFD’s drive.

The Veterans of the American Legion Johnson-Costello Post 355 in Penn Yan were proud to make their $5,000 contribution to the Penn Yan Fire Dept. for new and upgraded pagers.

Hearing that the Moose and the Elks had joined forces and not wanting to seem like latecomers to the drive, the veterans of the Penn Yan American Legion decided they could do one better – they donated $5,000 for the pagers.

Chief Ellis, filled with gratitude to the clubs, insisted they be properly thanked for their magnanimity, and made the rounds to each organization with a giant check for photos with club members to be sure it would never be forgotten. And on the day of the photo with the Legion members, the pagers were delivered far ahead of schedule even in the holiday season.

The 38 pagers made possible by the clubs, along with 26 purchased by the fire department itself, means that every volunteer now has a new pager to help serve their community better.

The 38 pagers made possible by the clubs, along with 26 purchased by the Penn Yan Fire Department itself, means that every volunteer now has a new pager to help serve their community better.

Pager choice

The decision on the pagers was made after considerable research by First Assitant Chief Mike Petersen, Second Assistant Chief Derek Christensen, Third Assitant Chief Ricky Simpson, and Ellis. They carefully researched the possible choices for the department, arriving at the Unication G1 for a head to head comparison to the old Motorolas and the PYFD members’ personal experience with them.

Unication G1 vs. Motorola Minitor VI

• Frequencies – Unication has ability to have 64 different frequencies programmed, with this, PYFD can have all eight of the county channels plus those of the surrounding counties where they provide mutual aid. Motorola could have only five channels.

• Price – Unication was offering a promotion with a $75 rebate on each pager, discounting the normal price of $355.50 to $280.50. The Motorolas were in the $350-$400 range about two years ago when the last batch were purchased.

• Durability – Unication IP67: Dust tight and submerged to three feet of water; Motorola IP56: Protected with limited dust ingress and protected from high pressure water jet from any direction.

• Coverage Area – Unications have slightly better reception in some of the county’s poorer reception areas.

• Battery – Unication uses 2-AAA rechargeable batteries that can easily be replaced. Motorola uses a Motorola battery made by Motorola that is rechargeable. Both last at least two days on fresh batteries.

• Programming – Both pagers have a fairly easy programming interface that is user friendly. Motorola has no digital display on the pager itself, just an audible notification of what channel the user is on or what level the battery is at. Unication has an LCD screen showing battery level, date, time, current channel, who the pager is assigned to with name and rank, and the ability to have a larger display of the time.

• Stored Voice (or playback) – Both have a stored voice setup that will record the audio of the dispatch of each call allowing replay of the entire dispatch, including address and call type, with the push of a button.

• Repair – Unication pagers are coming with a three-year warranty with of the promotions upgraded to five years.

“We obviously haven’t had to pay for any repairs since we are still in the warranty,” says Christensen. “We were paying on average $150 per repair for the Motorola pagers.”