A statewide coalition of county leaders, emergency planners and first responders gathered Tuesday to raise awareness of 9-1-1 call centers across New York facing escalating call volumes and aging systems.

The effort, dubbed Rescuing 9-1-1, was unveiled during National Preparedness Month and coincided with the New York State Association of Counties’ fall seminar at Niagara Falls Conference Center & Sheraton Hotel.

The campaign is intended to air a widely held concern among first responders that emergency communication systems need more dedicated resources to address call volume and communication technologies.

“Niagara County is home to one of the world’s greatest wonders; and we welcome all of our visitors — but it is also a fact that 9-1-1 operators in our community field more than 320,000 calls for help from both residents and tourists,” Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour said. “Everything from car accidents to incidents on the Niagara River, and pinpointing the locations of callers can make a difference. Minutes matter in an emergency.”

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