April 12, 2009 — The territory will get $2 million in grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help government and private industry strengthen preparedness, Government House announced this week.
"The federal non-competitive grant funding will assist the territory with improving its Emergency Operation Centers, preventing terrorism through identification fraud, protecting and securing its ports and critical infrastructure, and with enhancing emergency communications," Gov. John deJongh said in a statement.
According to the statement, FEMA officials indicated that the grants will be made on a rolling basis throughout the summer months.
The governor added that the funding comes at a time when the administration is revamping the emergency communications system and taking a closer look at the response capacities of the local government ahead of the 2009 hurricane season which starts June 1.
According to V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency Director Mark Walters, the grant will help emergency management by strengthening and focusing on strategic planning and preparedness.
The grant money includes $1 million from the Emergency Operations Center Grant Program to improve the territorys emergency management and preparedness capabilities by supporting flexible, sustainable, secure and interoperable Emergency Operation Centers. The grant provides funding for construction or renovation the governments Emergency Operation Center.
It also includes $661,690 from the Drivers License Security Grant Program to prevent terrorism, reduce fraud and to improve the reliability and accuracy of personal identification documents that states and territories issue.
Additionally, the funding includes $200,000 from the Buffer Zone Protection Program to safeguard critical infrastructure sites and key resource assets, such as power plants, through planning and equipment acquisition.
The funding includes $97,243 from the Port Security Grant Program for Hovensa to protect its critical port infrastructure from terrorism, to enhance maritime domain awareness and risk management capabilities and to protect against improvised explosive devices and other non-conventional weapons.
The funding also supports training and exercises and the implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential.
The grants include $62,715 from the Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program for planning, training, exercises, and equipment to carry out initiatives identified in the Statewide Communication Interoperability Plans, and to improve interoperable emergency communications for responding to natural disasters and acts of terrorism.
In total, the Department of Homeland Security allocated nearly $970 million in Fiscal Year 2009 federal preparedness grants through FEMA for 10 federal grant programs to assist state, local and tribal governments and private industry in strengthening community preparedness.
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