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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced yesterday that $45 million in state grant funding has been awarded to 57 counties and New York City for emergency communications. Tompkins County is slated to receive $680,422 of the grant money.  This funding enables local governments to expand their emergency response capabilities to enhance public safety operations. The 2018 Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant program supports nine Regional Communications Consortiums that focus on improving critical emergency communications across the state, as well as coordination between counties, state and federal agencies.

"In an emergency, every second counts and it's critically important that first responders have the tools and resources they need to receive information fast to help New Yorkers in their time of need," Cuomo said. "This funding will help us create a stronger, safer New York for all."

The State Interoperable Communications Grant, administered by the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, has awarded more than $450 million in seven rounds to 57 counties and New York City since 2010. The Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant is formula based and funded by cellular surcharge revenue. 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 land mobile radio systems.

"Emergency communications are vital to ensuring the safety and well-being of New Yorkers," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "In addition to state grants provided for county dispatch operations, this funding will further improve emergency response by enhancing communication networks in counties across the state. We're making sure that municipalities have the technology they need to improve emergency systems and operate efficiently."

Each county and New York City can submit applications to fund 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 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.

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