FEMA giving $225 million for emergency management

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide $225 million in grants to assist state and local government with domestic security.

The funds are being provided through the fiscal 2002 supplemental appropriation as part of President Bush's First Responder initiative, the agency announced this month.

Specifically, the funds will help state and local police, fire and emergency personnel, the so-called first responders, as well as emergency management become better prepared to respond to acts of terrorism and other emergencies and disasters.

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

The funding includes:

*$100 million for updating plans and procedures to respond to all hazards, with a special focus on weapons of mass destruction;

*$56 million to upgrade state emergency operations centers;

*$25 million for Citizen Corps activities;

*$32.4 million for weapons of mass destruction training for FEMA's Urban Search and Rescue task forces;

*$7 million for secure communications;

*$5 million to lay the groundwork for a National Mutual Aid System.

FEMA's Office of National Preparedness will administer the grants. The funds will be channeled through the states, with at least 75 percent going to local governments, the agency said.

FEMA Director Joel Allbaugh said the funds will serve as a down payment from the federal government on resources to modernize plans and strengthen the nation's preparedness.

Referring to the dual purpose of the grants, Allbaugh said: "These planning steps are critical to supporting first responders and preparing for all kinds of disasters."

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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