Sep 25 2003

SHELBY ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR CENTER FOR DOMESTIC PREPAREDNESS

Senate Also Approves $750 million in Fire Grants and Homeland Security Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2004

U. S. Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced funding for the National Center for Domestic Preparedness. The funding has been approved by the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives and will now be sent to President Bush to be signed into law.

Center For Domestic Preparedness - $55 million Sen. Shelby said, "The Senate has agreed that the National Center for Domestic Preparedness is the cornerstone of our nation’s emergency responder training facilities. The $55 million included in this legislation will allow the Center to increase its maximum training capacity, so that we may respond to terrorist attacks quickly and effectively."

"This level of funding is extremely important because it will allow the Center to increase its training and train as many as 50,000 first responders a year. Additionally, the Center will be able to train between 5,000 to 10,000 additional first responders through off-site training with mobile training teams and will allow the Center to initiate a sustainment training program in support of those already trained. These first responders include law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel who are trained by the Center for Domestic Preparedness to prevent and respond to incidents of domestic terrorism."

“The Center first opened its doors in 1998 with five employees. The Center now has a staff of 372 and hopes to add more than one hundred jobs in the next year.”

"Since the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country, the importance of first responders has become evident. The professionals trained at Ft. McClellan's Center for Domestic Preparedness are trained to respond and react to terrorist attacks."

Fire Grants - $750 million Sen. Shelby said, “Our bill includes $750 million for the Fire Grant program. These funds will assist local fire departments in their efforts to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel against fire and fire-related hazards, and to provide assistance for fire prevention programs.”

These grants were previously provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to meet the needs of state and local fire departments. The funds will now be administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Domestic Preparedness. Funds can be used for such things as fire operations, firefighter safety programs, emergency medical services, and firefighting vehicles.