In a bid to improve emergency communications in New York State, Gov. Kathy Hochul pledged $45 million in state funding to improve the operability of emergency communications statewide.

The funding has been awarded to counties statewide, according to a press release, and will enable local governments to expand their ability to communicate, exchange data, and streamline information to enhance collaboration and assist first responders.

“One of the keys to successful emergency response is a communications structure that all responders can depend on to relay important information and improve overall response activities,” Gov. Hochul said. “This grant will ensure our firefighters, police officers, EMTs and paramedics, and anyone who responds to a disaster will have the tools and training they need to communicate more effectively and efficiently.”

The $45 million in funding is part of New York’s State Interoperable Communications Grant, administered by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Since December 2011, the grant has awarded $472 million to municipalities over nine rounds of funding. In a press release, Gov. Hochul’s office said that grant funding is formula-based and is funded by cellular surcharge revenue.

To receive funding, counties and New York City can submit applications to fund projects involving infrastructure, equipment, and technology upgrades. The funding can be used for various functions, including enhancing emergency response for county, local, and municipal public safety organizations, improving capability, improvements in governance structures, operating procedures, infrastructure development, and addressing SAFECOM guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications.

“Our emergency responders depend on robust and secure communications systems connecting them to vital information and services. Information sharing between responders allows New Yorkers to get the help they need when it matters most,” State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy said. “Our staff remain committed to ensuring effective emergency communications capabilities across the State, and working with our partners to build a stronger, more resilient, and dependable emergency communications infrastructure.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs