Federal grant funding for emergency preparedness, security

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- More than $24 million in federal grant funding has been allocated to enhance emergency preparedness and security across Virginia, and some of that money has gone to organizations in this area.

In August, Governor Ralph Northam announced the culmination of the process to allocate the funding, which is being administered by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

The funding supports various emergency preparedness and security operations, equipment replacement, training, planning, and exercise programs by local governments.

"Federal emergency management and homeland security grants to Virginia have been cut by nearly 70 percent since 2008, emergency managers throughout Virginia have worked to become more strategic about allocating limited funding to meet the greatest needs," said VDEM State Coordinator Jeff Stern. "Nearly 200 local leaders from emergency management, law enforcement, fire and rescue, and EMS representing communities throughout Virginia participated in evaluating potential projects to allocate this limited funding to do the most good."

One of the programs that announced funding awards in August is the State Homeland Security Program.

VDEM says it received 126 grant requests for this program, and 54 of those were awarded funding totaling $2.5 million.

At Old Dominion University, the Virginia Modeling and Simulation Center manages a peer-reviewed process involving public safety stakeholders for competitive grants and scores proposals based on the benefit-cost ratio.

These funds help a variety of programs including community outreach and preparedness programs, interoperability efforts, sheltering programs, equipment enhancement, and exercises.

Public safety stakeholders also asked for and got an additional $3.9 million in non-competitive grants from the State Homeland Security Program for 49 projects.

These projects include 12 hazardous materials teams, seven technical rescue teams, four incident management teams, five Virginia radio communications caches, 19 swift water and flood rescue teams, two unmanned aircraft systems teams, and the Virginia Fusion Center.

Locally, the Central Virginia Emergency Management Alliance, which includes Louisa County, received funding for several competitive projects.

These include more than $74,000 for the CVEMA for regional emergency management planning support and $80,000 for Central Virginia whole community preparedness outreach and education.

The alliance is also getting $15,000 for regional community emergency response team training, $60,000 for Central Virginia mass care enhancement training and exercise, $25,000 for a regional recovery workshop and inventory project, $19,000 for a command post enhancement project, and $20,000 for Central Virginia training and exercise enhancement.

Orange County is getting $13,000 for ballistic vests and helmets for fire and EMS crews.

Finally, under the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, the Chabad of Charlottesville is getting $75,000.

The Hampton Roads Urban Area Security Initiative was also awarded $2.6 million to deal with needs in the high-density urban area.

To see a full list of the funding allocations, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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