Governor Kathy Hochul has allocated $55 million in state funds to improve emergency communications in New York City and 57 counties. The funds come from two grants under the Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant program, aimed at boosting emergency communication systems and public safety answering points.
Governor Hochul stressed the need for effective emergency communication systems. The $55 million will be overseen by the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES). The funds are divided into $45 million from SICG-Formula grants and $10 million for Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) grants. These grants aim to strengthen local emergency response and promote cooperation among public safety agencies.
DHSES Commissioner Jackie Bray highlighted the need for first responders to have clear communication during emergencies. The grants will equip local partners with resources to upgrade their emergency communications systems and improve cooperation.
The State Interoperable Communications Formula Grant (SICG-Formula) focuses on reducing communication gaps. It aligns technology purchases with its use by first responders. The grant covers eligible expenses for improving communications systems, training, and governance structures. It also helps county public safety organizations improve emergency response, following guidelines from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) National Emergency Communications Plan and the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
The grant amounts vary per county. New York City will receive the largest share of $6,615,112. Other significant allocations include Monroe County with $1,420,159, Erie County with $1,187,283, and Albany County with $1,175,916. These funds are expected to significantly improve emergency communication capabilities statewide.
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