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Greene County Emergency Services – Boosting Connectivity in the Catskills

Situated in the heart of New York’s Catskill Mountains, Greene County Emergency Services isn’t your typical rural 911 center. Working with a staff of sixteen employees, the department answers roughly 85,000 calls per year, serves 50,000 full-time residents, and juggles communications for 9 police agencies, 27 fire departments, and 14 EMS squads. Adding to the load, Greene County is home to two of the region’s busiest outdoor sporting destinations: Hunter Mountain and Windham Mountain. Both resorts are open year-round for skiing, snowboarding, zip lining, and mountain biking, attracting up to 500,000 annual visitors…of which not an insignificant percentage inevitably find themselves in need of emergency services at some point during their activities.

Expanding emergency operations at two locations

Greene County took on a massive communications center renovation in order to provide better and more efficient service. Besides upgrading the county’s telephone service and investing in a brand new CAD technology, the agency also set out to replace an aging Motorola Centracom console.

From the beginning, Greene County’s Deputy Director of Emergency Services, Randy Ormerod, knew he wanted a console that made it easier for dispatchers to communicate with first responders on the road. Emergencies move fast. And streamlining the passage of information can make all the difference in life-threatening situations.

Along with updating the agency’s five-position console system at the main operations center in Cairo, Greene County needed to revamp its 2-position back-up center at the Catskill Sheriff’s office. According to Deputy Director Ormerod, the backup center was a defining factor in the project. “We didn’t want to buy separate cores for another location,” he recalled.

While the agency evaluated several different options, ultimately the choice rested on who could offer the most options and flexibility for future scaling. “We looked at a plethora of vendors, and when it came down to the final decision, we were very happy with what Zetron could offer us,” said Deputy Director Ormerod. “Zetron was able to provide a solution that didn’t require us to buy a separate core for the backup. Using two remote stations, they were able to give us a backup center that mirrors the main operations center.”

Rebuilding with an eye toward the future

To manage the project, Greene County worked with New York Communications Company (NYCOMCO), a local Zetron partner who provided the agency with guidance and spearheaded the install from start to finish.

Zetron’s proposed solution started at the foundation with the notoriously robust ACOM Core infrastructure, providing support to the seven ACOM console positions. Next, multiple Media Controller Servers passing through 30 conventional service gateways connected the 60 conventional radio channels used. Finally, the core’s 67 SIP logging recording outputs provided the essential functionality to record all radio traffic without the need for individual connections for each audio path.

Deploying the ACOM Solution

Greene County took delivery of their new ACOM system. And within two weeks of arrival, the system went live. As expected, there were a few minor hiccups, but NYCOMCO and Zetron worked together to resolve all issues, and soon after that, the ACOM system was operating exactly as the agency had envisioned. “Within a day of deploying the ACOM system, it was game-on,” said Deputy Director Ormerod. “NYCOMCO and Zetron managed the deployment flawlessly.”

To ensure the operators felt comfortable with their new consoles, Zetron also provided Greene County with on-site training and adjusted system configurations based on the staff’s input. “There were no ‘that can’t be done’ moments. They were open to conversation and listened to our ideas. Whether we wanted to change layouts or move buttons to the back page, they took our suggestions very seriously. We were able to make changes on the fly, which saved us a tremendous amount of downtime during the deployment,” said Ormerod.

Streamlining emergency services throughout Greene County

Since bringing the ACOM system online, the agency has navigated several large-scale incidents throughout the busy winter season. Despite the challenging conditions, the ACOM system functioned seamlessly. “The staff appreciates the simplicity and cleanliness of the screen, which makes their job a lot easier. It’s not nearly as cumbersome as our past consoles. Every pager button is spelled out, right down to the individual fire departments and ambulance squads. There’s no searching around, everything is right up front,” explains director Ormerod. “It’s been a breath of fresh air to work with the ACOM system. From changing screen layouts to the way we hear tones drop, it’s extremely customizable. And it can all be done. The system is so easy to work with, and the features are endless. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Zetron and the ACOM console to any size agency.”

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