Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

FEMA to Issue Emergency Preparedness Planning Grants

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

FEMA to Issue Emergency Preparedness Planning Grants

Article excerpt

Local governments will soon be eligible to receive more than $100 million in grants for emergency preparedness planning and volunteer efforts through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The funds are being provided through fiscal year 2002 supplemental appropriations as part of the President's First Responder Initiative.

Unlike homeland security funding expected through the supplemental spending bill for airport security reimbursements, firefighter grants and emergency communications systems, money to revise local emergency preparedness plans was not rescinded by the Office of Management and Budget in early August.

"This funding will give state and local communities a down payment on resources to modernize plans and strengthen preparedness nationwide," said FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh. "These planning steps are critical to supporting first responders and preparing for all kinds of disasters."

A total of $100 million will be provided for updating plans and procedures to respond to all hazards, with a focus on weapons of mass destruction, according to FEMA.

The updated plans will address a common incident command system, mutual aid agreements, resource typing and standards for training and equipment, interoperability protocols for emergency communications, critical infrastructure protection and continuity of operations for state and local governments.

Administered by FEMA's Office of National Preparedness, the funds will flow through the states, with at least 75 percent going to local governments. Allocation of the $100 million will be based upon population criteria. No matching funds are required to receive the grants.

Additionally, $25 million is available for Citizen Corps activities, including Citizen Corps Councils and expanded training for FEMA's Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) across the country. FEMA also will provide a total of $56 million to states for upgrading state emergency operations centers, of which $50,000 will be distributed to each state as initial baseline funding. The remaining funds will be available on a competitive basis.

States are expected to receive guidance from FEMA regarding administration of the emergency preparedness planning grants in October; and distribution of funds to local governments is scheduled in December.

For more information, visit FEMA's website at www.fema.gov.

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