DHS Awards Grants, Provides Technology To Emergency Responders
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded two multi-million-dollar grants to state emergency response agencies and emergency workers, in addition to creating a program aimed at delivering the latest technology solutions to first responders.
States and local governments will receive $194 million to help prepare and implement emergency management activities through the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) program.
State emergency management agencies use EMPG funds to enhance their emergency management capabilities in areas of planning, equipping, training, conducting exercises and providing for all-hazards emergency management operations. In addition, the funds are used to pay for personnel who write plans, conduct training and exercise programs, maintain emergency response programs and educate the public on disaster readiness.
“The department remains steadfast in its commitment to providing this critical assistance to the nation’s emergency management community,” says DHS Under Secretary of Preparedness George Foresman. “These resources will help state and local officials to sustain or strengthen the effectiveness of emergency management programs nationwide.”
The DHS also awarded $34.6 million in equipment and training to first responders as a part of the fiscal year 2006 Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP).
CEDAP offers equipment in the following categories:
- personal protective equipment;
- thermal imaging, night vision, and video surveillance tools;
- chemical and biological detection tools; information technology and risk management tools; and
- interoperable communications equipment.
“CEDAP is yet another mechanism for the department to work with our local Homeland security partners in strengthening this nation’s ability to prevent, protect, respond and recover from a natural disaster or terrorist attack,” Foresman says. “This program enhances state and local communities’ capabilities as well as arms their first responders with the tools to build stronger regional coordination.”
The DHS’s Science and Technology (S&T) directorate has established the TechSolutions program, which helps support the first responder community by accelerating the delivery of emerging technologies. It is designed to collect technological requirements and provide solutions for first responders.
“No one understands the needs of first responders better than first responders,” says Jay M. Cohen, Under Secretary for S&T. “Every day, hundreds of law enforcement officers, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel and bomb-squad members think, ‘there’s a better way to do this,’ and we want to hear from them.”
TechSolutions will field technologies that meet 80 percent of the emergency response agency’s operational requirement in a 12-to-15-month timeframe and at a cost commensurate with the proposal.
Emergency responders who have identified capability gaps in their field or have suggestions that would aid the emergency response community are encouraged to submit ideas limited to three printed pages to