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News Release

July 29, 2011      

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

Dutchess Rail Trail Digitally Mapped for Fast Emergency Response

Poughkeepsie… One of the most appealing features of the Dutchess Rail Trail, www.dutchesscountytrails.com is the trail’s quiet serenity and the feeling trail users experience of being “away from it all.”      However, it should be very reassuring for trail users to know if they should ever experience an emergency on the Dutchess Rail Trail, Dutchess County public safety dispatchers can quickly identify their location using the caller’s cellphone GPS technology in conjunction with the County’s state of the art geographic information systems (GIS) technology and computer-aided dispatching (CAD) software.

“We want to make sure visitors to the Dutchess Rail Trail have an enjoyable and safe experience,” said County Executive Steinhaus.  “In the event of an emergency, a trail user can simply dial 911 on his or her cellphone, and our public safety dispatchers can direct first responders to the caller’s location quickly and accurately.”

The Dutchess County Departments of Emergency Response, Public Works and the Office of Computer Information Services have worked together to ensure a trail user’s location on the Dutchess Rail Trail can be quickly identified and emergency first responders can easily access the rail trail in the event of an emergency.     Physical landmarks along the Dutchess Rail Trail such as signage, hydrants and benches have been identified to serve “address points” and have been inputted into the County’s GIS systems and then mapped in the CAD technology utilized by the E-911 public safety dispatchers.  Dispatchers can then direct emergency first responders to the most appropriate trail access point for emergency vehicles.

“Unlike a normal street where there are homes or businesses with distinct addresses that show up on a map, we had to ‘create’ address points along the Dutchess Rail Trail.     With these address points in place, we can best utilize our technology resources and help get first responders to the scene quickly to those in need,” said Emergency Response Coordinator Dana Smith.

The Department of Emergency Response held a meeting earlier this week at the LaGrange Fire Department Station #2 with many of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Fire and Police agencies that provide emergency services to areas along the Dutchess Rail Trail to review the safety enhancements that have been made.      County representatives discussed how access has been improved along the trail for emergency vehicles and other operational, coordination efforts among the various emergency services agencies.

The Dutchess Rail Trail is a 12 mile multi-use linear county “park” that runs through the middle of the County along the former Maybrook Rail corridor including the towns of Poughkeepsie, LaGrange, Wappinger and East Fishkill.    The Dutchess Rail Trail has been constructed in multiple phases, with three phases complete.    There are more than 8 miles of continuous trail stretching from Old Manchester Road in LaGrange (behind Page Home & Hardware Center) and the Hopewell Depot in East Fishkill.    Additionally, there is a 2.4 mile trail section from Morgan Lake in the City of Poughkeepsie to Overocker Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie.    Thousands of visitors have enjoyed these completed sections of the Dutchess Rail Trail.   The final Phase IV will connect these two sections of trail with a massive bridge over Route 55, the Wappinger Creek and Old Manchester Road.  Construction on Phase IV is expected to begin in 2012.

“The Dutchess Rail Trail’s popularity continues to grow.   We want trail users to know we are using the latest technologies to be able to assist them in the unlikely event an emergency should occur on the trail,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.

For more information on the Dutchess Rail Trail or Dutchess County E911 services, visit http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us.

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County Executive

County Executive