LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A new tool from the Luzerne County 911 center is being called a “game changer.” It’s a digital radio system replacing an antiquated system that has been known to pose challenges for first responders.

It’s no secret that Luzerne County had to replace its radio system.

Eyewitness News has reported on situations over the last several decades where there was poor communication or in some cases no communication between 911 and first responders.

At an emergency scene, first responders tell us this new system could mean the difference between life and death.

“The coverage we have today on the analog system this new digital system far outweighs the coverage,” stated Fred Rosencrans, executive direct at Luzerne County 911 Center.

Luzerne County 911 executive director shows us the new digital radio basically, it provides a more direct and stable radio signal as compared to the current analog system.

“We’re taking a patchwork quilt of zones and radio frequencies and combining them all basically into a countywide true communications system now,” explained Rosencrans.

Rosencrans says the new radio system will improve communications between the 911 center and first responders.

Especially when they respond to calls in known communication trouble spots so-called “dead zones” in the county.

“I tested it personally over the last month or so. The digital audio quality and the coverage on this system is second to none compared to the analog system we have today,” said Rosencrans.

“Historically our communications haven’t been really good,” said Chief Jay Delaney, of the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department.

Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney says the new system is long overdue and much needed.

“The new system put us with a lot more clarity. You can hear in a lot more places that we don’t have communication issues,” stated Delaney.

Chief Delaney says the updated radio system can help first responders save lives.

“We were working with technology from 25-30 years ago and in our reception communications there would be areas where firefighters or paramedics would talk on the radio and you couldn’t understand him or here on the other end. So now we know we’re going to have far greater areas where there’s not an issue,” explained Chief Delaney.

Chief Delaney tells Eyewitness News so far so good on day one the new radio system will be phased into the rest of the county over the next month it cost about $23 million dollars.