Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Emergency Response Equipment

There is a brief article over on FireRescue1.com that looks at the problems that a local fire department is having in getting a grant to buy a specialized piece of fire fighting equipment necessary to respond to chemical fires or fires in areas where chemicals are stored. Since such pieces of equipment are actually seldom used, they are hard to justify during the budgeting process, but when they are needed, they are indispensible.

Historically, communities with influential Congressmen or Senators have been able to add earmarks to various spending bills to get funding for such local support through various grant programs. Of course, if your elected representative is in the wrong committee or the wrong party, or just has ethical objections to earmarks (there are some of those) then you do without or struggle through the grant funding process.

Equipment and Emergency Response Planning

In a recent series of blog posts on emergency response planning for gas pipelines I proposed a federally supervised emergency planning process for communities with federally regulated industries that could have an impact on local emergency response activities. In that proposal I posited the creation of a FEMA Emergency Response Coordinator in each affected county. That person would be responsible for coordinating public and private emergency response planning for emergency situations at the regulated facilities.

Another very important part of the ERC’s job would be to assist local emergency response agencies navigate the FEMA grant bureaucracy to get funding necessary to support the covered emergency response plans. The certification by the county ERC that the training or equipment was necessary to support an emergency response plan for a federally regulated facility would be used as a proof of need for the grant. Additionally the ERCs could be used to verify that the grant funding was used appropriately and that equipment purchased with such grants was being used (for training purposes at least) and maintained in an appropriate state of readiness.

This process of certification and verification would go a long way to help ensure that the FEMA grant funding process was being used to help those emergency response agencies with the greatest needs were receiving the bulk of the emergency grant funds from the Federal government. It would also help to ensure that funds targeted by Congress for support for emergency response for certain types of facilities or programs would actually get to the communities affected.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */