MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County will receive almost $680,000 to update and improve emergency response systems and next generation 911 technology thanks to a state grant unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The county will use the money in emergency communication areas, and Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace said the grant is good news.
“We’ll be further enhancing our public safety communication system and our 911 systems, and it is very important for us to continue to expand our abilities to communicate, specifically interoperable communications so we can speak to emergency services from all levels of government and multiple jurisdictions,” Gerace told WNYNews Now. “We’re excited about it. We have a number of projects that are in the works, and this will definitely help us.”
The $55 million state grant has been awarded to counties statewide and New York City for enhancing emergency communications. This funding will enable local governments to expand their ability to communicate, exchange valuable data, and streamline information to enhance collaboration and assist first responders.
“In an emergency, every second counts and these funds will help ensure our first responders have access to the best and most up-to-date communications equipment, enabling them to get the information they need to quickly respond,” Cuomo said. “These grants will bring up one step closer to a stronger, safer and more secure New York for all.”
Gerace said the grant is funded by surcharges to cell phones.
“These grants, most of the monies come from a portion of the cell phone surcharges that all of us who have cell phones are charged for New York State,” he said. “New York State puts a $1.20 911 surcharge on everybody that has a cell phone.”
Chautauqua County’s grant, according to Cuomo’s staff, is $647,798. Cattaraugus County will receive $726,536.
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 911 technologies and standards, setting up communication channels among public safety radio systems, consolidating emergency services dispatch centers, supporting the operations of public safety dispatch centers, and deploying new technology that help counties link their systems together.
Additionally, this funding will support training and exercises to promote efficient inter-regional communications, cooperation, and overall first responder readiness.