Upgrades coming to Montgomery Co.’s 911 dispatch center with state grant of $ 374,000

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FONDA – Montgomery County has received a state grant of $ 374,781 that will be used to update the systems and equipment used by the 911 dispatch center.

Montgomery County Sheriff Jeffery Smith said Monday that the county requests the state grant for interoperable communications each year administered by the State’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to ensure that emergency communication systems are kept up to date.

“Technology changes regularly and we have to stay on top. It is sometimes a daunting task, luckily these grants help us, ”said Smith.

The Montgomery County funding was part of $ 45 million in state grants to counties across the state to improve the operation of emergency communications systems recently announced by Governor Kathy Hochul. Formula-based rewards are funded by cellular surcharge revenues.

“One of the keys to a successful emergency response is a communications structure that all stakeholders can rely on to relay important information and improve overall response activities,” Hochul said in a prepared statement. .

Smith said this year’s grant would fully cover the cost of upgrading the consoles used in the 911 dispatch center and updating the aerial image database covering the entire county that are used to provide detailed information to first responders.

Dispatch consoles include the hardware, software, and back-up systems used by dispatch personnel to handle incoming calls 24 hours a day. Consoles should be upgraded every five years to ensure that calls run smoothly. dispatch center and that information can be effectively delivered to first responders as needed, Smith said.

The dispatch center is responsible for responding to all emergency and non-emergency calls for police, fire and ambulance services in Montgomery County and dispatching the necessary agencies to respond to emergencies. The dispatch center also receives calls for the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.

The county dispatch center receives about 190,000 calls each year, including about 43,000 for emergencies, according to Smith.

“The 911 center is the first line of defense when someone needs help. The dispatcher is the first to respond. If their equipment is not functioning properly or is out of date, it causes significant delays for responding agencies, ”said Smith.

The county is currently undertaking related projects to update the call center’s computer-assisted dispatch and telephone systems with previous funding from the Public Safety Response Points Grant program administered by the Division of State of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

The latest Emergency Communications grant will also be used to update the EagleView pictometry system used by dispatchers to provide detailed information to first responders. New aerial images from across the county will be captured by EagleView to ensure the database is as accurate as possible.

Smith said dispatchers access the program during most police, fire and ambulance calls to provide first responders with a detailed pre-arrival scene description and any resources that may be helpful.

“It allows our dispatchers to give detailed information to first responders, such as the location of the house, whether there is a long driveway or what the driveway is made of. It can measure distances such as the distance to the stage, the height of buildings or the number of buildings. It can also identify nearby water sources in the event of a fire, ”Smith said.

The county has long used the system to better inform first responders during service calls, according to Smith, who said the aerial image database is updated every three years.

Contact Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.

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