Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus hosted New York State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines on a tour of the Dutchess County Emergency Response Center today. Dr. Daines’ visit was part of a statewide public health tour to recognize Public Health Week in New York State. The theme for National Public Health Week is “Take the First Step! – Preparedness and Public Health Threats.”
“We have been relentlessly committed toward our public safety responsibilities for the families of Dutchess County. We are continuously working to increase our level of readiness in the event of any emergency including public health emergencies,” said County Executive Steinhaus.
The tour featured an overview of the County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the Enhanced 9-1-1 Dispatch Center as well as the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). The EOC serves the central coordination, management and communications facility where key representatives of county agencies, as well as several other agencies can gather to address the wide variety of issues associated with major wide spread emergencies or disasters.
The County Executive outlined plans for the upcoming $10 million upgrade to the Emergency Operations Center. Construction is expected to begin later this year. The upgraded EOC will feature a state-of-the-art Emergency Command Center to coordinate activities in the event of any natural or man-made disaster. It will also feature training classrooms that will provide a lecture type environment with new multi-media systems to allow for distance learning courses.
The Enhanced 9-1-1 Dispatch Center features advanced technological capabilities including the MSP CAD - Computer Aided Dispatch System and the Wireless 9-1-1 Phase 2 Mapping Locator System. Dutchess County 9-1-1 dispatchers have the capability to instantly view the address and phone number of the telephone called from. Automatically identifying the location of a caller is key to providing a quick response to those in need.
The Wireless 9-1-1 Mapping Locator System, which debuted in 2006, allows dispatchers to pinpoint the exact location of a cell phone, even if the cell phone caller is uncertain about his or her location. Dutchess County 9-1-1 dispatchers can instantly locate the caller and direct first responders to the scene. All cell phones purchased after 2004 come equipped with Wireless Phase 2 technology.
The County Executive also provided Dr. Daines an overview of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) of Dutchess County. The MRC was established in 2002 to create teams of local volunteer medical and public health professionals who can contribute their skills and expertise in a large scale disaster or public health emergency. There are currently over 640 licensed health professionals and other Dutchess County residents who have signed up to volunteer in the MRC.
Dr. Daines, who is a resident of the Town of Stanford, was quickly recruited to volunteer for the MRC effort. At the conclusion of the tour, Dr. Daines stated, “We know the real action happens at the local level. As both a resident and Commissioner, I am very impressed with Dutchess County’s level of emergency preparedness.”
Other participants on the tour included Dr. Michael Caldwell, Dutchess County Health Commissioner; John Murphy, Emergency Response Coordinator; Dana Smith, MRC Coordinator and Pat Calamari, 9-1-1 Dispatch Supervisor.