GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – Communications systems used to handle emergencies on the island as well as several Puerto Rico Police buildings will benefit from over $1.6 million in grants awarded under FEMA’s Public Assistance program. These funds will help those in uniform to continue providing vital safety services to communities.
Emergency communication systems in Guayanilla, Isabela, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Mayaguez and Yauco will be strengthened with the help of over $906,000 in grants. The communications network tower at the Emergency Management Center in Guayanilla, for example, will be replaced with nearly $330,000 of these funds, among other repairs. Likewise, about $54,000 will be used to repair various antennas, communications equipment and the weather station in Jayuya.
“Government agencies that ensure the safety of citizens are necessary in the island's recovery. These funds for the Puerto Rico Police and municipalities to strengthen their communication systems are essential to continue protecting lives and safeguarding property," said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alex Amparo.
Among the obligations this week is over $392,000 for the Puerto Rico Public Building Authority for improvements to police offices in the western area. Facilities in Aguadilla, Arecibo, Mayagüez and Ponce will benefit from this allocation. Similarly, another $348,000 was approved for the stations in the Mayagüez region which include Añasco, Cabo Rojo, Hormigueros, Las Marías, Maricao and Mayagüez. The center of the island will also benefit with an obligation of over $8,000 for the Orocovis police station. Many of these projects include funds to minimize the effects of natural disasters in the future.
“Collaboration between state and federal agencies is fundamental in order to carry out projects that contribute to the common good,” said the Puerto Rico Police Commissioner, Henry Escalera Rivera. “These funds represent a major step in meeting our goals and preparing our Bureau for future emergencies. We remain focused on strengthening the communications system, as well as the other programs that will benefit and help ensure the safety of the people of Puerto Rico.”
In an effort to build resilient structures, part of the federal investment focuses on mitigating the effects of future disasters. At the police station in Mayaguez, for example, fences will be reinforced in order to better withstand the effects of wind and debris. The station in Orocovis, on the other hand, will consider the use of steel instead of aluminum on the roof as well as improvements to the drainage system.
“The Police Bureau is a fundamental part of the first line of defense when it comes to public security and during emergencies. These obligations for their recovery projects will allow them to improve in their facilities in order to provide a service that ultimately benefits the entire community,” said the Executive Director of the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, or COR3, Ottmar Chávez.
FEMA works with COR3 through the federal agency's Public Assistance program to obligate recovery funds to private nonprofit organizations, municipalities and agencies of the Government of Puerto Rico for expenses related to Hurricanes Irma and Maria.TO date, nearly $6.8 million has been obligated to Puerto Rico under the Public Assistance program.
For more on Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane María, visit fema.gov/disaster/4339.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) 711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.