$4.8M coming to local counties to enhance emergency communication

More than $4 million in grant funding is coming to the Finger Lakes area to help improve emergency communications.

State Senator Pam Helming announced millions in grant awards to the six counties she represents to enhance emergency communications for police, fire, and EMS. This funding will help local first responders expand their ability to communicate and respond more quickly to emergencies.

“At a time when natural disasters and emergency situations are becoming increasingly frequent and more severe, it is more important than ever that we do all we can to support our local law enforcement and first responders. Providing our counties with the necessary resources and most modern communication technology will allow them to respond as quickly as possible and will help keep our first responders safe as they do their work,” Sen. Helming explained.

She added, “These awards will help counties offset emergency radio upgrade expenses, saving local taxpayers money. Additionally, this funding will support critical upgrades in call-taking and dispatching technology such as text messaging and improved GPS for emergency response. As State Senator, I will continue to fight every day to ensure that our first responders have the tools and support they need to keep our communities safe.”

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 mobile radio systems. Counties can use this funding for a variety of functions – from expanding radio coverage, to implementing Next Generation 911 technologies and standards, to consolidating emergency services dispatch centers, among other services to promote efficient communications, cooperation, and overall first responders’ readiness.

The 2017 State Interoperable Communications Grant by the numbers:

Cayuga County – $778,135
Ontario County – $682,338
Monroe County – $1,727,572
Seneca County – $441,439
Tompkins County – $704,439
Wayne County – $541,839

Additionally, counties across Senator Helming’s District have been awarded funding for emergency call centers. Public safety facilities, known as PSAPs, receive incoming calls for help and initiate dispatching of emergency services. The Public Safety Answering Points Grant, administered by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, allows for state reimbursement to counties for eligible public safety call taking and dispatching expenses.

The 2017 Public Safety Answering Point Grant by the numbers:

Cayuga County – $202,548
Ontario County – $198,524
Monroe County – $$231, 492
Seneca County – $180,736
Tompkins County – $148,478
Wayne County – $146,239

These grant awards are part of the $45 million that State Interoperable Communication Grant contributed to local governments and an additional $10 million to localities contributed by Public Safety Answering Points Grant.

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