Representatives of the Rockland County Office Of Fire & Emergency Services appeared before the legislature’s Planning & Public Works Committee to explain functions of their department and give an update on the interoperability system for emergency services agencies. The department’s staff includes 11 fulltime and four part-time employees. They assist with the Technical Rescue Team, Hazmat Team, Hazardous Mitigation E-911, interactive mutual aid plans, Reverse 911and provide training and emergency planning services.
The status of the county’s interoperability radio project to enable all Rockland emergency services to communicate with one another was discussed at length. The $30 million system will give the agencies access to communicate with each other in real time in an emergency on a dedicated county channel. E-911 Coordinator Pablo Ramos expects testing of the interoperability system to begin in May.
He said police departments and ambulance corps already have the control station hardware installed for the system and between 30 and 40 percent of the fire departments in the county have been finished. Ramos said the Haverstraw and Stony Point police departments and Sheriff’s Department would be the first to transition to the system. He expects the entire system should be up and running throughout the county by the end of the year.
Radio distribution will be handled according to the original interoperability agreement signed several years ago. Since that time, some departments have determined they need fewer radios and others more. Ramos said they are looking into grants as a source of money for the Clarkstown Police Department and other emergency services that requested additional radios.