First of 55 agencies to use emergency communications system
The Endicott Police Department is now online to the Broome County-wide Public Safety Radio system. The new emergency communications network, led by the Broome County Office of Emergency Services, will assist 55 different first responder agencies from police, fire, and EMS throughout the County.
“Residents rely on our first responders to assist them as quickly as possible during an emergency; this new network will help make response times faster than ever, creating safer communities throughout Broome County,” said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar. “This project has been a huge undertaking. Thank you to everyone who helped get this network up and running.”
The County’s old network consisted of 12 different radio systems with portions dating back to 1970, creating major radio coverage gaps. The old systems operate on three different “bands” meaning the ability for one unit to talk to another one for mutual aid is virtually impossible. For example, three different fire departments who respond to a fire in mutual aid may not be able to communicate with each other.
The upgraded public radio system will meet the county’s needs for the next 20 years. Equipment is being provided to all Police, Fire, EMS, and DPW departments, allowing all to communicate with each other. All users will be able to change to an emergency channel and speak directly with a 911 dispatcher.
The $23 million project is being supported through temporary surcharges added to residents’ landline and wireless phone bills; a change that was made through a rule change at the state level with the help of Senator Fred Akshar and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo.
“When our loved ones' lives are on the line, we need to make sure our first responders aren't depending on 50-year-old equipment to save lives,” said Senator Fred Akshar. “The stakes are too high. I was proud to partner with Assemblywoman Lupardo, County Executive Garnar, County Legislature Chairman Dan Reynolds and our local county legislators to ensure our police, fire and emergency services have the tools they need to help keep us safe."
“When the County approached Sen. Akshar and I about the need to upgrade their outdated public safety radio system, we immediately passed legislation giving them a funding stream to help pay for it” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo. “Eventually, all first responders in the County will be able to communicate on the same emergency channel, instead of the fragmented system they currently use. It’s a relief to know the system is being rolled out starting here in Endicott.”