$3 million grant will do more upgrades to emergency communications system in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 March 2023 at 9:14 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: Workers from Upstate Tower Construction erect a 180-foot-high radio tower on Jan. 20, 2020 next to the Orleans County Public Safety Building along Route 31 in Albion. This was one of four new radio towers to go up in the county as part of $6 million project to upgrade the emergency communications system in the county.

ALBION – Orleans County has been approved for a nearly $3 million grant from the state for more upgrades to its emergency communications system.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $2,990,000 to Orleans through the Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant. It is part of $62 million awarded for 14 counties in the state.

In Orleans, the money will pay for a new tower and equipment at the Orleans County Emergency Management Office on West Countyhouse Road in Albion, equipment for a new tower in Carlton that is being built as part of the broadband project, and two backup 911 dispatch consoles at the EMO site.

The state funding will allow a connection with the Monroe County emergency communications system so first responders from the two counties can better communicate with each other.

The new tower at the EMO office will replace an older one that is at end of life, said Jack Welch, the county’s chief administrative officer.

The grant program is administered by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Gov. Hochul said the funding is used to enhance public safety through improving and modernizing infrastructure, addressing communications deficiencies, implementing national interoperability channels, and boosting regional connectivity between counties and systems.

“When disaster strikes, New York must be ready. This grant funding is critical to modernizing our emergency communication systems to ensure that our brave first responders have the resources and data they need to keep the community and themselves safe during an emergency,” Hochul said. “Keeping New Yorkers safe is my top priority and this program is key to improving public safety throughout Upstate New York.”

Orleans County in 2020 completed a $6 million project to upgrade the emergency communications system in the county. The state awarded Orleans a $5,897,141 grant for four new towers, accompanying communication shelters, technology to connect separate radio systems and new radio channels. Those 180-foot-high towers are next to the Public Safety Building on Route 31 in Albion, Millers Road in Yates near the water tank, and at the Kendall Central School near the bus garage. The other tower is 150 feet high next to the Holley water tank on Route 237.