ALBANY, NY (12/20/2011)(readMedia)-- Jerome M. Hauer, Commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today announced $20 million in funding to sixteen counties to improve first responder communications and help localities better respond to emergency situations.
"The recent flooding disasters in New York show the importance of having a top-rate emergency response system," Commissioner Hauer said. "These awards are critical to fund new communication equipment and help first responders have the tools they need to protect New Yorkers in emergency situations."
The magnitude of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee posed serious communications challenges to the response and recovery efforts among many counties. During these disasters, local systems faced outages and reduced coverage due to flooding and storm damage. Connections to emergency operation centers and command posts were disrupted. Further problems arose when outside help arrived as local public safety radio networks were sometimes overwhelmed or incompatible with equipment used by responders arriving from neighboring counties and agencies.
Fourteen counties from regions that were affected by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee were approved for funding.
Counties receiving awards will use the funding to obtain portable and mobile radios, as well as base stations (fixed-station equipment handling radio traffic from many users) that are capable of using national interoperability channels and other local mutual-aid channels.
Also included are projects to construct and install new equipment at towers and antenna sites, projects to deploy microwave equipment to provide more reliable transmission between sites and facilities, and projects to implement gateway technologies for linking county systems. Equipment purchased using these grants will allow different agencies to use common channels during incidents where multiple jurisdictions are involved.
This is the first round of awards from the Statewide Interoperable Grant program, a new multi-year, competitive reimbursement program funded from the State cellular surcharge.
The total amount awarded for the first round of the program is $20 million.
The following counties are receiving awards: