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PRESS RELEASE- 911 Surcharge Benefits Western Mass. Towns: Emergency Response Grant Funding From EOPSS Awarded throughout Berkshire County
March 11, 2009

Boston- Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) is pleased to announce that the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s State 911 Department has awarded a total of $568,378 in grants to Berkshire County ($437,084) as well as the Towns of Adams ($18,936) and Dalton ($112,358) to support 911 emergency dispatch communication centers and enhance public safety.


“With the continual advance of technology and emergency response protocol, it is important that we in the Commonwealth keep current, ensuring the highest level of support to all those who rely on emergency services,” said Downing.  “I am pleased that funding for important upgrades and dispatch training has been set aside for Berkshire County and for the communities of Adams and Dalton.”


These grants are drawn from a State 911 Department account which is funded through the collection of surcharges on subscribers whose communication service is capable of accessing and utilizing the Commonwealth’s enhanced 911 system.  The new system assures citizens the ability to call for police, fire or emergency medical services whenever and from wherever needed. Public safety workers answering emergency calls have been specially trained and have access to state-of-the-art equipment.


Customers now pay a $0.75 per month surcharge used to pay for enhanced training, updated equipment, infrastructure improvements and incentives to regionalize 911 operations.  Surcharge collections will provide $19.1 million in FY09 and approximately $21.5 million in FY10 directly to 911 emergency call centers for training and operating expenses.


To date, in FY09, $14.1 million dollars in grants have been awarded to support emergency dispatch communication centers to improve public safety.


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