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News

SHERIFF RANDY BOWER AND ORLEANS COUNTY PLAY ROLE IN RESCUING 911 BY CALLING FOR DEDICATED RESOURCES

The New York-based Rescuing 911 campaign is intended to raise the profile of a widely held concern that the state's emergency communication systems need more dedicated resources to address call volume and communication technologies. 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                 Contact:  Mark Lavigne
September 30, 2016                                                                                    518.465.1473
mlavigne@nysac.org

Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower is helping lead a statewide coalition of advocates composed of key county leaders, emergency planners, and first responders to raise awareness that 9-1-1 call centers across New York State are facing escalating call volumes with aging systems. 
 
The effort, dubbed Rescuing 911, coincides with today's nationwide PreparAthon, a campaign to increase emergency preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions and exercises. The New York-based Rescuing 911 campaign is intended to raise the profile of a widely held concern that the state's emergency communication systems need more dedicated resources to address call volume and communication technologies. 
 
Rescuing 911 has the backing and support of a wide range of local officials including county executives, sheriffs, legislators, supervisors, 9-1-1 coordinators, firefighters, emergency managers, and other first responders.
 
Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower, a member of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) Standing Committee on Public Safety; shares his perspectives on this important NYSAC committee.
 
Sheriff Bower said, “In Orleans County, we operate a consolidated 9-1-1 call center that each year answers approximately 30,000 calls for service. We have two full-time dispatchers on duty round the clock. And working as a team on their shift, they answer to more than two dozen emergency response organizations – that's 13 fire departments, four ambulance services, and another nine police agencies.” 
 
Sheriff Bower has appeared in a one-minute video outlining the campaign: https://youtu.be/jdre8W1dosw
 
“Unless and until counties have access to a dedicated revenue stream to help pay for the system upgrades and new communications equipment, NG911 will be out of reach for many areas of the state. That's what this campaign is all about,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “In order to meet the expectations of the millions of New Yorkers who are calling and texting 9-1-1 from their cell phone, we need to upgrade our systems.”
 
“Having a reliable and consistent state funding stream for investing in 9-1-1 services is critical for Orleans County and for every other county that provides emergency dispatch services for New Yorkers,” said Orleans County Chief Administrative Officer Chuck Nesbitt, NYSAC second vice president.
 
In the 1960's emergency phone calls came through dedicated phone lines into the homes, and workers would then notify the fire department. As these emergency call services were consolidated under 9-1-1, the function was taken over by the state police. Today, most of the state's 9-1-1 emergency communication systems are operated and funded at the county level. However in the absence of additional resources many counties will be unable to finance public safety upgrades and equipment without a more dedicated revenue stream.
 
“Rescuing 911 grew out of a grass roots discussion driven by a fundamental concern about public safety,” said NYSAC President William E. Cherry, the Schoharie County Treasurer. “In every corner of the state, from rural and remote communities to our inner cities we must be prepared to answer the call.”
 
A twitter handle - @Rescuing911 - and a YouTube Channel have been created to allow the public to engage in the effort and learn more about how to participate in the campaign. To learn more about the initiative, visit: http://www.nysac.org/rescuing911.
 
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The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving the counties of New York State. Organized in 1925, NYSAC's mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties. www.nysac.org

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