$6 million state grant will upgrade Orleans emergency communications

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 November 2018 at 12:24 pm

New radio towers will be added in Lyndonville, Kendall

ALBION – The state has approved a grant for nearly $6 million for Orleans County that will add two new radio towers and make other upgrades to the county’s emergency communications system.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the $5,897,141 grant this morning. The grant will pay for new 180-foot-tall towers in Lyndonville and Kendall, as well as technology to connect separate radio systems and new radio channels to strengthen communications between multiple jurisdictions and agencies.

The county will also add radio equipment to the Holley water tower to improve coverage in the Holley area.

The project will fund software and other upgrades for the system, which serves firefighters, law enforcement, highway employees, probation and some other municipal workers in the county.

The system currently has poor coverage in the Holley area, along Lake Ontario and some other isolated locations in the county, especially in buildings with thick walls.

The county in August submitted a grant application through the 2018 Statewide Interoperable Communications Targeted Grant through the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office. The state is allowing a maximum of $6 million per county for the grants.

Tim Warth, a consultant for the county with Radio Technologies, said in August that Orleans is one of 10 counties in the state identified as “in need.”

The proposed project would also improve interoperability with neighboring counties, allowing personnel to cross county boundaries and still have a radio signal.

The two new 180-foot-high towers in Lyndonville and Kendall would enhance coverage by the lake, and allow a lower strength signal so Orleans isn’t interfering with Canada’s system, Warth said.

The county currently has towers in Shelby on Maple Ridge Road by the Medina water tank, on Countyhouse Road in Albion by the Emergency Management Office and on Route 31A by the Clarendon Highway garage.

The county would like to have the tower in Lyndonville on West Avenue and in Kendall at the firemen’s field near the Town Hall.

“It’s a huge effort, a great effort by our consultant and the county communications committee,” said Dale Banker, the county’s emergency management coordinator. “It will enhance our emergency communications, especially at the Kendall and Lyndonville schools. It’s almost doubling our capacity.”

The new Lyndonville tower would allow for a connection with Niagara County, which received a $6 million grant and is looking to add a tower in Barker. The Kendall tower or the Holley site could allow a connection with Monroe County’s system, Banker said.

“A big part of these grants is interoperability,” he said. “The state wants neighboring counties to communicate with each other.”

The towers have a generator and small shelter. Banker said the county may pursue another grant when this project is complete to add a tower in Carlton by the town highway building on Route 98 and an additional tower in Albion by the Public Safety Building.

The state today announced $32 million for seven counties to improve emergency communications.

“In emergency situations, it’s critical that first responders have the resources they need to quickly and efficiently respond to calls for help,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “This funding will allow counties to continue to upgrade and improve their emergency communications systems and in the process create a stronger, safer New York for all.”

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