Sheldon Whitehouse

02/18/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/18/2020 16:03

RI Nets Over $8 Million in Federal Security & Emergency Preparedness Grants

02.18.20

PROVIDENCE, RI - U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced that Rhode Island will receive $8,030,040 in federal funding to enhance public safety and support emergency preparedness. The state will also receive grants to help at-risk non-profit organizations and houses of worship secure their facilities against targeted attacks.

The federal funds, which were awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and will be administered by the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA), are targeted to help Rhode Island government agencies and organizations prepare for, respond to, and recover from regional and national emergencies, disasters, and mass-casualty events. The funds may be used to help the state with a variety of initiatives to help prepare for disaster situations, from allowing state and local responders to purchase new safety equipment and conduct rescue and public safety training to helping synagogues, churches, and mosques enhance their security systems.

'This federal funding will help the state enhance its emergency response capabilities and ensure our first responders are well-equipped and well prepared for a wide array of emergencies, threats, and hazards. I commend RIEMA and all our first responders for their tireless efforts on behalf of Rhode Islanders and I am pleased to help deliver these federal funds to improve public safety,' said Senator Reed, who voted to pass the Protecting Faith-Based and Nonprofit Organizations From Terrorism Act, which was signed into law last year, authorizing $75 million annually for the Department of Homeland Security's Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). 'I am pleased that this additional federal funding will help better protect synagogues, religious, and cultural institutions and help prevent them from being targeted.'

'RIEMA has an excellent record of making sure our state is equipped to handle just about anything,' said Senator Whitehouse. 'This federal funding will boost those preparedness efforts and further secure religious institutions so that every Rhode Islander can feel safe where they worship.'

'Our first responders must have the resources necessary to plan for and respond to a wide range of emergencies in order to protect the health and safety of Rhode Islanders,' said Congressman Langevin, a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. 'The recent increase in threats and incidents of violence targeting religious communities across the country also underscore the need to be proactive in enhancing security at places of worship. I am pleased that, thanks to the work of Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, nonprofits including churches and synagogues will have funding available to help enhance their security.'

'We owe it to every Rhode Islander to ensure that our first responders and emergency agencies are adequately prepared when disaster strikes,' said Congressman Cicilline. 'These funds will give RIEMA the support they need to continue doing their job preparing our state for emergencies of any kind. This is an important investment in Rhode Island, and I'm proud that we could work at the federal level and in close consultation with state officials to make these funds available.'

'RIEMA is pleased to receive over $8 Million in Federal Security & Emergency Preparedness Grants,' said RIEMA Director Marc Pappas. 'This is a noticeable increase over FY2019 levels. These Grants are essential for the enhancement of our emergency response capabilities, strengthening local emergency management programs and ensures our first responders are trained, well-equipped and well prepared for an all hazards, whole community response to disasters, emergencies, and threats. Not only will these funds help enhance public safety and support emergency preparedness in our State, they also will greatly assist our at-risk non-profit organizations and houses of worship against targeted attacks. These non-profit grants have been very successful here in Rhode Island and this year, we are very pleased to see they will be receiving even more funding compared to previous years.'

Specifically, Rhode Island will receive:

State Homeland Security Program (SHSP): $4,287,500

This program provides support for the implementation of state homeland security risk-driven strategies to address identified planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events.

Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG): $3,342,540

This funding provides grants for emergency preparedness to assist state and local governments in enhancing and sustaining all-hazards emergency management capabilities. Administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the EMPG Program provides necessary direction, coordination, and guidance, and assistance, so that a comprehensive emergency preparedness system exists for all hazards.

Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP): $400,000

This program provides funding support target hardening and other physical security enhancements for nonprofit and faith-based organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack.

In an effort to encourage individuals and families to take time to think about their emergency preparedness - including what to do, where to go and who to contact in the event of a disaster or emergency - and with the looming threat of the spreading of the COVID-19 corona virus, the Delegation is also encouraging Rhode Islanders to look into FEMA's 'Ready' campaign to promote preparedness through public involvement. More info on the Ready campaign can be found here: https://www.ready.gov

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