State funding to support local first responders

Yates County and four other regional counties are among those statewide that have been selected to share $55 million in state funding to help enhance and support local emergency communications systems. Counties in the  58th Senate District are receiving the following awards through the Interoperable Communications Grant and Public Safety Answering Points Operations Grant programs.

Yates County is to receive $350,954 from Interoperable, and $188,139 from Public Safety.

Other counties receiving funding from the two grants:

• Chemung County, $543,685 , and $197,248 

• Schuyler  County, $381,179, and $193,631

• Steuben County, $804,996, and $195,340

• Tompkins County, $704,018, and $148,478

Counties throughout New York State are being awarded a total of $45 million to undertake infrastructure, equipment, and technology upgrades.  The assistance is part of the latest round of funding through the Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant program, a competitive grant program supporting regional communications partnerships throughout New York.  

An additional $10 million is being distributed through the state’s Public Safety Answering Points Operations Grant program to support emergency call centers.

State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) says, “These timely and important public safety and emergency response grants should make a great difference to local emergency response teams. Emergency preparedness, response, and recovery are fundamental government responsibilities.”

The state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services administers the programs. The Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant is formula based and funded by cellular surcharge revenue. To date, the state has awarded $275 million for interoperable radio communications and emergency services dispatching services.  Participation in the programs have more than doubled since 2010.

Counties can use this funding for a variety of functions, including expanding radio coverage by installing new equipment at towers and antenna sites, implementing Next Generation 911 technologies and standards, setting up communication channels among public safety radio systems, consolidating emergency services dispatch centers, supporting the operations of public safety dispatch centers, and deploying new technology that help counties link their systems together. Additionally, this funding will support training and exercises to promote efficient inter-regional communications, cooperation, and overall first responder readiness.

“Effective emergency communications are essential to a first responder’s mission. Utilizing the latest technology will allow dispatch centers to quickly and efficiently respond to calls for help,” said Roger L. Parrino Sr., Commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “The Division, through its Office of Interoperable and Emergency Communications, will continue to help local governments invest in the latest technology so they can help our citizens in an emergency.”