Elmira/Corning Regional Airport

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Emergency Radio Upgrades

Written By: Joe Melillo

For years, volunteer Fire Departments in Chemung County have been dealing with inadequate radio technology.

Chemung Co. Fire Radio Upgrade
February 14, 2013
Chemung County (WENY) - For years, volunteer Fire Departments in Chemung County have been dealing with inadequate radio technology. Well now that's changing, and fire chiefs around Chemung county couldn't be happier. Right now an HD television signal can interrupt a emergency call to fire departments throughout the county. The grant money will be used to upgrade the system so people and fire crews are safer.
     
“The system we're using now is basically stone age technology as far as radios are concerned,” says West Elmira Fire Chief Jack LeValley. “We have a hard time talking across my own district due to geographical problems and buildings.”
     
LaValley says radio calls cut in and out, making it hard for firefighters to communicate, and County Executive Tom Santulli Agrees this is a serious problem.

      "We live in a valley so obviously communication is a heck of a lot harder than it is if we lived in a flat area, here there is a ton of dead spots,” says Santulli.
     
The plan is to upgrade and build new get new radio towers, upgrade the Chemung county 911 dispatch center, and connect with the existing fiber optic broadband system.
      “The communication system that we will be upgrading to will allow us to communicate not only with my people clearly but I’ll be able to talk to adjoining departments and everyone else, with no problem whatsoever,” says Chief LaValley.
     
“What this is the county changing our infrastructure, as the county is responsible for the dispatching and the 911 center and all the towers and that's where this money is going to go,” says Santulli.

      At this point County Executive Tom Santulli says the project could cost more than $6 million but the grant will go a long way and save taxpayers in the end.