New York Announces $45M in Emergency Communications Grants
Friday, December 13, 2019 | Comments

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced $45 million was awarded to 57 counties and New York City to enhance emergency communications across the state. The grant program is funded by cellular surcharge revenue and enables local governments to expand emergency response capabilities and enhance overall public-safety operations.

The 2019 Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant program supports nine regional communications consortiums, which focus on improving critical emergency communications across the state, as well as coordination among counties, state and federal agencies.

"Emergency communications systems are crucial to ensuring the safety of every New Yorker, and we're always looking for the latest technology to transmit information fast in a time of crisis," Gov. Cuomo said. "This funding will enhance communications networks across the state and ensure that municipalities have the resources needed to improve emergency systems and operate efficiently."

The Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant program, administered by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, has awarded more than $500 million to 57 counties and New York City since 2010. The formula-based program funds projects involving infrastructure, equipment and technology upgrades.

Eligible counties can use this funding for a variety of functions, including expanding radio coverage by installing new equipment at towers and antenna sites, implementing next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) technologies and standards, setting up communications channels among public-safety radio systems, supporting the operations of public safety dispatch centers and deploying new technologies that help counties link their systems together. The funding also supports training and exercises to promote efficient, interregional communications, cooperation and overall first responder readiness.

"Establishing clear and open lines of communication is one of the most critical pieces of any emergency response operation, and for this to happen, the proper infrastructure must be in place,” said New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy. “Thanks to this funding, localities will be able to access the resources they need to enhance and modernize their emergency communications systems and ensure assistance is deployed to New Yorkers as quickly as possible when disaster strikes."

This announcement further builds on the state's work to assist localities in improving emergency communications. In September, Gov. Cuomo announced $10 million in grants awarded to localities across the state to support emergency response operations. The 2019 – 2020 Public-Safety Answering Point Grant allows municipalities in 57 counties and New York City to make improvements to their 9-1-1 response and emergency service dispatch operations. The annual PSAP grant allows for state reimbursement to counties for eligible public safety call-taking and dispatching expenses.

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