Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Virginia Selects Homeland Security Projects

For Immediate Release
Sept. 2, 2008

VIRGINIA SELECTS HOMELAND SECURITY PROJECTS TO FUND
-- $23.4 million in grant funds allocated to localities --
RICHMOND, Va. — Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today announced that Virginia has allocated $23.4 million in State Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGOP) funds to localities across the Commonwealth.

"These funds, provided by the Department of Homeland Security, help first responders purchase the state and local resources they need to prevent, respond to and recover from acts of terrorism and natural disasters," Governor Kaine said.

Funded projects include:

Law Enforcement Operations ($9,279,000) – Expands and completes a statewide system that provides law enforcement agencies with secure access to regional crime data and counter-terrorism tools. In addition, funding will provide equipment and training to police and fire departments for regionally managed bomb squad responses. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services will manage the distribution of funds for both initiatives.

Enhanced Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive Devices Capabilities ($1,700,000) – Funds new equipment and vehicles to detect and monitor weapons of mass destruction and to respond to structure building collapses. This funding will also replenish, replace and upgrade existing equipment as needed for the state’s nine Hazardous Materials Officers, 24 hazardous materials/WMD teams and seven Heavy Technical Rescue Teams, which are locally based and work together at the regional level. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Virginia Department of Fire Programs will distribute the funding for these initiatives.

Statewide Shelter Planning and Enhancement ($2,270,000) – Continues work in preparing state shelters for a mass evacuation by installing proper wiring connections for generators; modifying shelters to comply with the Americans with Disability Act for Special Medical Needs populations; purchasing Web-based software to register, track and reunify families; and other software, training and supplies for shelters throughout the state. The Virginia departments of Social Services and Agriculture and Consumer Services will manage these initiatives.

Critical Infrastructure ($1,520,000) – Funds the development of a standardized smart card identity system called the First Responder Authentication Credential, or FRAC card, for emergency responders to gain access to a disaster area. This year, funding will focus on central Virginia; in previous years, the northern Virginia and Hampton Roads areas received funding for the FRAC system. Funding will also support the Automated Critical Asset Management System, a program that helps emergency managers track critical assets throughout the state. The Office of Commonwealth Preparedness will distribute the funds for these initiatives.

Emergency Medical Services ($1,391,100) – Supports the transition to the new Emergency Patient and Resource Registry, a secured online patient database that will track the location of each patient from disaster site to hospital. Activities will include data conversion, training and technical assistance. The Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services manages this initiative.

Citizen Preparedness ($1,581,501) – Funds training and educating the general population and vulnerable populations as well as typing and credentialing volunteer resources. Funds will go to Virginia Citizen Corps programs, the Ready Virginia public outreach campaign, public education and purchase of citizen alerting warning systems, and development of a volunteer and donation database system. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management will distribute these funds to the participating localities.

Other funded projects will support interoperability improvement; expanding the Metropolitan Medical Response System; exercises and training; and planning and assessment.

The Office of Commonwealth Preparedness and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management held several stakeholders' meetings where more than 200 local and state partners from all emergency and first responder disciplines took part in determining priorities and discussing options that Virginia would pursue.

HSGP grants encourage regional cooperation to reduce the risks of improvised explosive devices and radiological, chemical and biological weapons through interoperability, information sharing and citizen preparedness. DHS distributes HSGP funds according to terrorism risk factor, demonstrated need and potential impact.

The HSGP allocation coincides with the beginning of National Preparedness Month, a time for families, businesses and communities to take action on emergency preparedness. More than 1,200 national, regional, state and local businesses and organizations are part of the fifth annual effort. More information about how Virginians can prepare for emergencies is available at www.ReadyVirginia.gov and at www.ListoVirginia.gov.

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