Next Generation Public Safety Radio project nears completion, $2 million under budget

Local News
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First responders need reliable resources to keep residents safe, but making advancements sometimes takes years of preparations.  

In an emergency situation, minutes and even seconds can be the difference between life or death.  Erie County officials want to provide as many resources as possible for crews to get the job done quickly and safely. 

Crews are completing construction of the final tower for Erie County’s Next Generation Public Safety Radio Project, a development about four years in the making. Government officials watching the last pieces come together.

Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper says, “It will be a system that Erie County can be proud of but most importantly, it’ll be a system that’s gonna save lives.” 

The tower that will stand at 263 feet tall is one of eight newly constructed for the project.  These towers are meant to fix a longtime problem.

John Grappy, Director of Public Safety, tells us, “First responders cannot talk to each other and they don’t have a reliable system that they have to depend on for the initial dispatch of an emergency call as well as communicating during that call or incident.”

Currently, spotty communication is a major risk in Erie County.

Dahlkemper says, “When you have a big disaster of any kind where you’re over more than one jurisdiction, you’ve got a problem and that can result in the loss of lives of our first responders as well as the people they’re trying to save.”  

That’s why the new system will place all first responders, law enforcement, fire and medical personnel, and emergency management on one frequency.

Grappy says, “We’ll move forward with acceptance testing, training of the first responders and then we’ll go live with that system by the end of March of 2019.” 

The system meets and exceeds national standards of 95% coverage, 95% of the time.

The county executive says citizens can be very much assured that crews did the best they could with this project; coming in $2 million under budget.

Now that the construction phase of the project is wrapping up, crews will go onto the final installation of the operating system.  

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