Next phase for Next Gen. in Erie County

Local News

The county unveils the next phase of the Next Generational Public Radio System.  Taking another leap forward to the anxiously awaited projects’ completion.

$6.2 million worth of equipment is soon to be in the hands of first responders county-wide.  Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper announces the early deployment of the mobile and portable units as well as the control stations for the Next Generation Public Radio System.  First responders will be trained on the use of mobile, portable, and control station units this week.  “Each phase in this project brings us closer to having a modern, unified radio system that will help ensure the safety of our first responders and the citizens they protect…  We’ll be getting it into the hands of our firefighters, our law enforcement and our emergency medical technicians – the people who are out there every day trying to save us and keep us safe. This will help keep them safe.”

Matt Exeley of Millcreek Emergency Management says, “being able to get these out in the hands of our responders is great. It’s going to help us even before the new county system becomes operational.”  A better communication system between responding agencies has been needed for more than three decades, as shown during the Albion tornado in 1985.  And more recently at the site of the warehouse that housed hundreds of mattresses, causing a massive fire last year, the need was apparent.  And, Exley tells us, “We had communication issues between Millcreek units and the city units and the county units. Being able to talk to each other certainly is a firefighter/responder safety issue. This is critical for the county and is really exciting.”

Dahlkemper says, “We had about 20 different units responding from across the county that couldn’t talk to each other. So they’re running around trying to give direction if they need more water or they need a fireman over here. That’s unacceptable.”

Director of Public Safety, John Grappy, tells us, “They will have… operable communications in their hands that they don’t have today in advance of the implementation of the new radio system.”

The goal of the project is to unify Erie County’s emergency communications system that meets the needs of operators and residents, alike.  County Council approved the $26.5 million in 2015 for the radio system.  First responders will be training on the new equipment this week.  Then, the installation will begin in emergency vehicles.  

Eight new towers and the microwave equipment on those towers will be going up.  The radio system on track to be completed in Spring of 2018.

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