Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the culmination of a stakeholder-driven process to allocate more than $6.1 million through various federal grant programs to enhance emergency preparedness and security throughout the Commonwealth. The funds will be administered by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) to support a wide array of emergency preparedness and security operations, equipment replacement, training, planning and exercise programs by local governments.
“Virginia’s local first responders have been called upon time and again to respond to natural and manmade events impacting our Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These brave men and women have stepped up to protect their fellow Virginians when tornadoes ripped across Virginia in February 2016, when Hurricane Matthew caused massive flooding in Hampton Roads last October, and most recently when civil unrest spawned violence and tragedy in Charlottesville. The strategic investment of these federal homeland security grants will fund vital projects to enhance Virginia’s strength and resilience against all threats.”
“The inclusive and detailed grant review process, taking into account stakeholder expertise to understand the security needs facing communities across the Commonwealth, will allow us to use our limited grant funds to support the most critical needs facing our first responders,” said Brian Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management received 139 grant requests totaling more than $12 million to compete for the competitive portion of these federal funds. Sixty-six projects were awarded a total of $2.5 million from competitive State Homeland Security Program funds. The Virginia Modeling and Simulation Center at Old Dominion University manages the peer-review process conducted by Virginia’s public safety stakeholders for competitive grants, and scores proposals based upon benefit-cost ratios. Awards have funded a diverse group of programs such as community outreach and preparedness programs, interoperability efforts, railroad safety initiatives, sheltering programs, and active shooter exercises.
As requested by the public safety stakeholders, an additional $2.6 million was allocated in non-competitive grants from the this year’s State Homeland Security Program to fund 29 projects sustaining 12 hazardous materials teams, seven technical rescue teams, four incident management teams, four Virginia radio communications caches, and the Virginia Fusion Center.
Lastly, $1 million was awarded to the Hampton Roads Urban Area Security Initiative (HR UASI) to address the unique needs of this high-threat, high-density urban area. An additional $75,000 was awarded to the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to allow hardening and other physical security enhancements to nonprofit organizations located within the HR UASI and recognized to be at an increased risk of terrorist attack.
“While federal grants to Virginia for emergency management and homeland security have been cut by nearly 70 percent since 2008, Virginia has worked to become more strategic in how money is allocated to meet our security needs,” said Dr. Jeff Stern, VDEM’s State Coordinator for Emergency Management. “More than 200 local public safety leaders from emergency management, law enforcement, fire and rescue and EMS agencies across the Commonwealth participated in determining the priorities for this year’s grant process.”
Local Coutines reveiving Competitive Grant Awards: