N.Y. awarded $45M in grant funding to improve emergency communications

State grant funding has been awarded to counties statewide and the city of New York for improving communications operability

The Daily Star, Oneonta, N.Y.

NEW YORK — Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced $45 million in state grant funding has been awarded to counties statewide and the city of New York for improving the operability of emergency communications across the state. The funding "will enable local governments to expand their ability to communicate, exchange valuable data, and streamline information to enhance collaboration and assist first responders," according to a media release.

Locally, Otsego County will receive $663,885, Delaware County will get $604,415, Chenango County will receive $511,743 and Schoharie County is due to get $458,573.

"One of the keys to successful emergency response is a communications structure that all responders can depend on to relay important information and improve overall response activities," Hochul said in the release. "This grant will ensure our firefighters, police officers, EMTs and paramedics, and anyone who responds to a disaster will have the tools and training they need to communicate more effectively and efficiently."

The State Interoperable Communications Grant, administered by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, has awarded $472 million to municipalities over nine rounds since December 2011, the release said.

The Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant is formula-based and funded by cellular surcharge revenue. The program has "allowed counties to make vital improvements in the way first responders can communicate between each other and different regions of the state using land mobile radio systems" the release said.

Counties can submit applications to fund projects involving infrastructure, equipment and technology upgrades. They can use the funding for various functions, including enhancing emergency response for county, local and municipal public safety organizations, improving capability, improvements in governance structures, operating procedures, infrastructure development and addressing SAFECOM guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications, according to the release.

State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy said, "Our emergency responders depend on robust and secure communications systems connecting them to vital information and services. Information sharing between responders allows New Yorkers to get the help they need when it matters most. Our staff remain committed to ensuring effective emergency communications capabilities across the State, and working with our partners to build a stronger, more resilient, and dependable emergency communications infrastructure."

(c)2021 The Daily Star (Oneonta, N.Y.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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