New York Governor Announces Grants to Fund Emergency Communications

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the funding will improve the quality and efficiency of emergency response capabilities across New York, while supporting the brave first responders who put their lives on the line every day to protect their neighbors and their community.

by Mark Boshnack, The Daily Star, Oneonta, N.Y. / March 31, 2017
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(TNS) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $45 million in emergency communications grants statewide on Wednesday, according to a media release.

The funding will enable local governments to expand their ability to communicate, exchange valuable data, and streamline information through their systems to enhance collaboration and assist first responders, he said.

Locally all four counties are receiving funds through the process.

Delaware County is receiving $447,657 to continue the upgrade of its emergency communications system that has been going on for a few years, said Steve Hood, the county director of emergency services. The total cost of the project is $10-$12 million.

“This will help,” he said.

Chenango County will receive $456,553.

“It gives us an opportunity to enhance our system using state grant funds” instead of asking local taxpayers for the support, said Matthew Beckwith, Chenango County's fire coordinator and director of emergency management.

Also receiving grants through the state's Interoperable Communications Grant awards were Otsego County ($797,694) and Schoharie County ($436,557).

"In an emergency, every second counts," Cuomo said in the media release.

"This critical funding will improve the quality and efficiency of emergency response capabilities across New York, while supporting the brave first responders who put their lives on the line every day to protect their neighbors and their community," he said.

The state Interoperable Communications Grant, which is administered by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, has awarded more than $275 million in five rounds to 57 counties and New York City, according to the media release In addition, 10 regional partnerships or consortiums have been formed as a result of this grant program. This represents an increase in participation of more than 50 percent since the program was launched in 2010.

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner John P. Melville said, "It is vital to emergency response to continually upgrade and enhance communications systems including 911 technologies. This grant funding allows counties and New York City to continue to make improvements to their emergency communications systems to help protect New Yorkers."

©2017 The Daily Star (Oneonta, N.Y.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.