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Lackawanna County Boosts The County’s & The City Of Scranton’s Public Safety Radio System

A new analog radio system, serving Scranton’s police and fire departments utilizing the Lackawanna County Emergency Services Center, has gone online today, (August 2), providing better communications service to handle the needs of the city’s residents.

In addition to the City of Scranton, all communities throughout the County will experience enhanced service with upgrades scheduled for August 3.

The $3.62 million system enabled operational sites to go from five to 14 and new radios, transmitters, receivers and antennas to be hooked-up to the County’s wireless network, saving valuable revenue and providing enhanced services throughout the County.

“Safety is our utmost concern.  The new radio system increases Scranton’s ability to get messages quicker and clearer and to provide the necessary protection in a rapid fashion,” explained Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley.  “This was a long time coming, but it’s here and will pay great dividends for everyone.”

“The City of Scranton is the County’s seat and our most densely populated area.  So, it is only fitting that it is the first to go live,” said Commissioner Jerry Notarianni.  “We now have cutting edge technology to serve our residents, making us a leader in state-of-the-art technology.  We are committed to saving lives and this radio system advancement enables us to do so.”

“I am very proud to be a part of this accomplishment.  This radio system is all about providing better service to the public in times of emergencies.  It is about saving lives and getting information out to police and fire personnel so that they can do their jobs,” said Commissioner Laureen A. Cummings.  “It is a tremendous resource and shows the progressiveness of our community.”

Scranton’s public safety officials are very appreciative of this upgrade investment because of its impact on service, protection and saving lives.

“Our local emergency radio system is a lifeline for both officers as well as the residents of our area and in such the Scranton Police Department appreciates the significant investment the county has made in this very important radio system upgrade,” said Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano.

“I’m looking forward to the improved quality of communications with the 911 Center.  In emergency services, communications are a very important, if not the most important tool in managing emergencies.  We are thrilled that the County is upgrading communications equipment that has not been addressed in at least two decades.  It’s a relief to know that the reliability of the new equipment will be constant for years to come,” offered Scranton’s Deputy Fire Chief Al Lucas.

“I would like to thank the Commissioners for standing behind this project for the betterment of the County’s and Scranton’s Emergency Services,” said David M. Hahn, the County’s Director of the Department of Emergency Services.

According to Mr. Hahn, this radio project has taken over two years to complete. The system will be done this week and placed into service.  All Emergency Services Channels for the County’s Fire and EMS were rebuilt from the ground up and additional channels were added.  A new radio dispatch console was added at the Communications Center in Jessup, which was at “end of life” and had to be replaced or upgraded.  The new radio system was expanded from five remote sites to 14 to help to gain radio reception to the first responders in areas of Lackawanna County that previously had no or very poor reception.

The City of Scranton’s Police and Fire UHF radio system, which is completely different than the County’s VHF radio system, was also included in this project.  The City’s entire Fire and Police radio system was replaced from the ground up; a task that was long overdue.  Its current antiquated radio system had been failing miserably and required numerous repairs.  Radio sites in the City have gone from three locations to five.

The present County and City radio systems are extremely obsolete and have not been replaced in some 20 to 30 years.  By completing this project and with the addition of the more than 80 base stations and receivers at 14 different locations to upgrade the failing radio infrastructure throughout the County and City, this should ensure that the all residents receive the help they request in a very timely manner without the loss of radio communications.  It should be noted that the new radio system was incorporated with the County’s wireless network using the most up-to-date technology.  The wireless system is used to communicate through the radios.  No phone lines are used, thus driving down and saving on operating costs for the County.

Motorists Encouraged to Take Steps for Safer Thanksgiving Winter Travel

Motorists Encouraged to Take Steps for Safer Thanksgiving, Winter Travel
New 511PA Tool Offered for Thanksgiving Travel Decisions

Harrisburg, PA –As Thanksgiving approaches, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards today urged drivers to take steps now for a safe holiday travel period and winter season.

Richards announced a new tool on www.511PA.com that allows users to see how traffic speeds on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2013 and 2014 compare to average traffic conditions.

“With Thanksgiving being one of the busiest travel periods during the year, it can be a challenge to decide when to begin your trip,” Richards said. “This page is one more way we’re putting as much information as possible into drivers’ hands so they can make informed travel decisions.”

The “Historic Holiday Traffic” page allows users to choose their region and view an hour-by-hour, color-coded visual of how traffic speeds on these travel periods compare to the average speed at the same time and day of week. The information is provided for roughly 2,900 highway miles as part of the data supplying the statewide speed data for 511PA.

In addition to planning for traffic impacts, Richards noted that vehicle preparation is key to safe travel.

“Snowflakes may not be falling right now, but now is the time to make sure drivers and their vehicles are ready for emergencies on our roadways,” Richards said at a media event today. “Taking these steps will help us all start the winter season on the right foot.”

With many motorists traveling Pennsylvania highways this holiday and to prepare for the months ahead, drivers should have their vehicle serviced by a mechanic they trust. A properly trained mechanic can check the cooling system, battery, hoses, drive belts, tires and wiper blades to ensure they are in good condition and functioning properly. Throughout the season, motorists should frequently check all fluid levels, lights and wiper blades.

Tires should also be checked often for the correct level of air pressure and adequate tire-tread depth to perform on ice and snow. A quick way to check tread depth is to insert a penny in the tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the entire head, the tires are worn and traction will suffer. If you live in an area prone to heavy snow, drivers may want to consider using dedicated snow tires or carrying a set of tire chains. At a minimum, all-season tires should be rated for use in mud and snow.

“Once vehicles are travel-ready, drivers should be prepared for travel emergencies, whether weather or vehicle-related,” Richards said. “Especially if long-distance travel is planned, motorists should always carry an emergency kit.”

An emergency kit should include items such as non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a small snow shovel. However, motorists should tailor their kits to any specific needs that they or their families may have. Consider adding such items as baby supplies, extra medication, pet supplies, or even children’s games.

“Weather and road conditions can quickly take a turn for the worse during winter months,” said Richard D. Flinn, Jr., director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. “Motorists should anticipate traffic delays and allow plenty of time to get where they’re going, and restock their emergency kit immediately after using items in it.”

Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 770 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website. The “Historic Holiday Traffic” player is currently only available on desktop computers or tablets that support Flash.

For more information on PennDOT’s winter preparations and additional winter-driving resources for motorists, visit the department’s winter Web page, www.PennDOT.gov/winter. The public can join the discussion on a safe holiday season using the hashtag #PASafeHoliday and find winter information with the #PAWinter hashtag.

Follow PennDOT on Twitter at www.twitter.com/penndotnews or “like” the department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennsylvaniadepartmentoftransportation.

MEDIA CONTACT: Rich Kirkpatrick or Erin Waters-Trasatt, PennDOT, 717-783-8800
Ruth Miller, PEMA, 717-651-2009