New York is shoring up its emergency communications. $55 million in grant money has been awarded statewide to enhance emergency communications. The State Interoperable Communications Grant contributed $45 million to local governments, and the Public Safety Answering Points Operations Grant contributed an additional $10 million to localities for a total of $55 million.
The State Interoperable Communications Grant, administered by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, has awarded more than $300 million in six rounds to 57 counties and New York City. The Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant is formula based and funded by cellular surcharge revenue. Each county and New York City can submit applications to fund projects involving infrastructure, equipment, and technology upgrades. The grant is administered by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
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.
Additionally, $10 million has been awarded to counties across the state for county emergency call centers. The annual grant, also 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. All counties and the City of New York can apply to receive grant funds, and all chose to participate in the program this year.