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News Release    

September 16, 2005      

For Further Information Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
(845) 486-2000

County Executive Launches Major Emergency Response Initiative
Steinhaus says Phase One to cost $6.8 million

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus today launched a major initiative to strengthen and upgrade the county's public safety, emergency services and "first responder" capability and capacity.  The "Campus Master Plan" initiative will provide substantial upgrades, rehabilitation and expansion at the Dutchess County 911 Center, Emergency Operations Command Center (EOC) and Emergency Operations Training Facility for fire, police and emergency services volunteers and professionals. The county facility is located on Creek Road in the Town of Hyde Park.  

Steinhaus said, "This project is really about making stronger and more effective our 'first responder' capacity in Dutchess County.  I believe our prime responsibility as public officials is public safety and to ensure Dutchess County has adequate facilities, equipment and resources to respond not only to the day-to-day emergencies in our communities, but also the more serious or catastrophic situations caused by weather or possible terror events.  One of my top priorities is to provide the training facilities we need for the effective training of our volunteer and professional fire, police and emergency services staff all across our county."  The Executive noted key elements are the planned upgrades to the learning facilities for both classroom and hands on training -- including facilities for specialized police training based on the FBI Academy approach to provide practical, realistic, and urban training experiences -- including simulated urban buildings.

This multi-phase plan will be implemented over the next five years, with the first phase scheduled for 2006 and 2007 at a cost of $6.8 million.  Phase One will include the construction of a major addition to the building for an enhanced Emergency Operations Command Center (EOC); upgrade and expansion of the classroom training areas; and the necessary modernization of the utilities and communication infrastructure.  Phase Two, presently scheduled for 2008 and 2009, will include an upgrade to the training Center with state-of-the-art props and a multi-functional ‘Learning Lab’ for fire and police and the expansion and upgrading of the hazardous material operation and storage facility.  Phase Three will include security and grounds work to complete the overall facility and grounds requirements.  The total estimated cost for the three phases is expected to be about $9.5 million.

Ron Knapp, City of Poughkeepsie Police Chief stated, “The proposed campus plan for the D.C. Department of Emergency Response is a major enhancement to the county’s ability to respond to critical incidents.  The benefits gained from this collaboration of services will far out way the initial expense.  I commend County Executive Steinhaus and all others who have taken part making this a worthwhile project”.

Steinhaus added, "It is also my belief Dutchess needs a modern Emergency Operations Command Center (EOC) with the capacity to efficiently manage a major emergency event including the technology and communications equipment so essential to a successful coordination by agencies at all levels of government -- local, state, and federal. We all very sadly witnessed in New Orleans what can happen without adequate 'command and control' and proper preparation.”

Also planned at the 911 Center campus are new storage facility garages for our HAZMAT -- Hazardous Materials Response - and Fire Investigation Vehicles, along with Weapons of Mass Destruction Trailers.

Richard Giuliani, President of the Dutchess County Fire Chief’s Council, expressed his support of the campus master plan proposal “The expansion and enhancement of the campus will be a significant improvement for the fire service in Dutchess County.  Bill Steinhaus, DeWitt Sagendorph and his staff have always been supportive of the fire and EMS services in Dutchess County, and this is another example of that support.”

The four term County Executive noted, "We have seen first hand during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and most recently with the devastation of Hurricane Katrina just how important the local 'first responder' system is for a community response to a disaster.  It is important to emphasize that ‘all disasters are local’ and that for the first 48 to 72 hours it is the local infrastructure of emergency responders that is most critical to the health and safety of residents.”
"We live in a rapidly changing world and I believe Dutchess County needs to be prepared to respond to any emergency event that may confront us.  That is why I feel so strongly about this project moving forward," the Executive concluded.

A bond resolution for $6.8 million for Phase One has been submitted to the DC Legislature for review and action on the proposal.


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Last Updated: 9/26/2005