Denton, TX -- Joe M. Allbaugh, Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), today announced FEMA will grant nearly $1.3 million to Arkansas for state and local responders and emergency management to become better prepared to respond to acts of terrorism and other emergencies and disasters. The funds are being provided through the fiscal year 2002 supplemental appropriation as part of President Bush's First Responder Initiative.
"This grant will give Arkansas and its local communities a down payment on plans to modernize and strengthen preparedness statewide," Allbaugh said. "This is critical to supporting first responders and preparing Arkansas for all kinds of disasters."
Of the nearly $1.3 million awarded to Arkansas, $931,000 will be provided for updating state and local plans and procedures to respond to all hazards, with a focus on weapons of mass destruction. The updated plans will help address a common incident command system, mutual aid agreements, equipment and training standards, interoperability protocols, critical infrastructure protection, and continuity of operations for state and local governments. At least 75 percent of the grant amount is required to go to local governments. The funds will assist local governments develop comprehensive plans, linked through mutual aid agreements, outlining the specific roles for all first responders (fire service, law enforcement, emergency medical service, public works, etc.) in responding to terrorist incidents and other disasters.
"I applaud President Bush's strong support and dedication to the First Responder Initiative Program," Allbaugh said. "We can never thank first responders enough for the work they do and the lives they save, but giving them financial support and additional resources is a great place to start."
FEMA also will provide $50,000 to assess the functionality of emergency operations centers and nearly $275,000 to Arkansas to support the growth of Citizen Corps activities. The Citizen Corps grant funds will support the formation of Citizen Corps Councils and the expansion of FEMA's Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) program, which trains individuals in emergency response skills.