ALBANI — District counties will get millions of dollars to upgrade their emergency wireless systems through state-funded grants of mobile phone surcharges.
The state on Wednesday announced a 2022 distribution of annual funding, designed to improve public safety communications networks within and between agencies and jurisdictions.
A combined 57 counties and New York City will receive $100 million – $90 million under the statewide Interoperable Communications Grant Program, for large-scale projects, and $10 million under the Public Safety Response Point Program, to support the day-to-day operations of Public Safety Communication Centers .
Domestically, the 2022 awards break up as follows:
Albany County – $2,365,306 / $220,092
Fulton County – $993,962 / $177,041
Montgomery County – $740.231 / $211,150
Rensselaer County – $1,451,319 / $168,104
Saratoga County – $1,426,723 / $118,764
Schenectady County – $1,197,673 / $178,688
Shohri County – $935.567 / $108.584
“This funding is essential to strengthening New York’s emergency response capabilities, in situations where every second counts,” Governor Kathy Hochhol said in a news release.
The SICG grant will help pay for several infrastructure projects, including hardware and software upgrades at six radio towers, said Stephen J. Santa Maria, director of emergency management for Fulton County. Installing generators in towers. Coordination and authorization of the new recurrent and simultaneous frequency of the EMS Emergency Medical Service; remote monitoring of equipment; and continue to modernize basic, mobile and portable radios.
Santa Maria said the money will also help with long-term efforts to improve wireless communications in northeastern Fulton County.
“There is an area where we really struggle with communications between agencies and our dispatch center, mainly because of the terrain issues,” he said.
“The potential tower site we are looking at is in the northeast corner of the county and we believe it will greatly improve our problem area.”
What still needs to be done: Study the coverage and study the microwave path to see if they are correct, and that will lead to an improvement. If all goes well, the tower and equipment enclosure will be designed and built. And before anything can actually be built, the plan must be approved by the Adirondack Park Agency.
“So this is likely to be a multi-year process with a number of steps that need to be taken,” Santa Maria said.
Montgomery County Sheriff Jeffrey T. Smith said the PSAP grant will support the county dispatch center, and help drive the new computer-assisted dispatch system and other equipment.
With the SICG grant, the county is looking at reinforcing two of its microwave towers and possibly building a new shelter building in one of the other towers, depending on how much it all costs.
Smith said the grants are greatly appreciated.
“This money is very valuable to us,” he said. “Our dispatch center, radio system, and microwave system support all of our first responders. Without this money, it would be very difficult to budget for and/or complete these projects.”
Part of the communications network that allows emergency personnel to respond uniformly in a crisis, Smith said, the core non-emergency agencies that are part of the solution — school districts and public works departments — have been integrated over the years.
“The ability of firefighting, environmental management system and law enforcement to communicate directly enables us to better prepare and provide a less chaotic and more organized response,” he added.
Schenectady County will use the PSAP grant to pay salaries at the county unified call center and the SICG grant to offset the cost of annual maintenance for the new county-wide radio system, with any remaining funds earmarked for building additional system redundancy.
State records show Schenectady County has received $10.4 million through the two grant programs since 2013, the bulk of that in SICG funds. This helped pay for the radio system, which has replaced a variety of outdated and unreliable systems, said Erin Roberts, a Schenectady County spokeswoman.
“The county legislature pledged to fund the full cost of the $19 million project, which included the upgrade and replacement of multiple radio towers, the replacement of outdated street-level portable and portable devices for all emergency responders and the upgrading of equipment used at UCC,” she said. cost to local municipalities.
“Previously, police, fire and EMS agencies within the county operated on different frequency bands and there were areas within the county that did not have radio coverage. Since the project was completed earlier this year, all first responder agencies within the county are now on the radio system. One higher power making it easier for those agencies to communicate with and between UCC senders.”
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