Faulkner County Office of Emergency Management will use a $10,000 donation from BHP Billiton for communications equipment at volunteer fire departments.

A release distributed by OEM Thursday states the Federal Communications Commission has required volunteer fire departments, many in rural areas, to upgrade to narrow-banding communications equipment. Narrow-banding is the change of bandwidth that channels must operate on to receive emergency signals.

"This new communications equipment will ensure that volunteer fire departments out in the county receive emergency signals during a disaster in a timely and uninterrupted manner," said Sheila McGhee, Faulkner County OEM director.

BHP Billiton is a global mining company that produces aluminum, copper, energy coal, iron ore, manganese, metallurgical coal, nickel, silver, uranium, oil and natural gas.

"We greatly respect the important responsibility that the Office of Emergency Management and Judge (Allen) Dodson have in helping the residents of Faulkner County during emergencies, and we hope this will make their jobs easier in protecting our fellow Arkansans," said Danny Games, external affairs manager at BHP Billiton.

The Office of Emergency Management coordinates resources associated with disasters that occur in Faulkner County and implements an emergency operations plan. The office is also responsible for 911 addressing, road signage and maintenance in the county with the exception of the City of Conway.