Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, both Democrats representing Maryland, hailed the recent award of more than $23.8 million in fiscal year 2019 federal preparedness grants for the state, according to a press release.
Preparedness grants are allocated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency to state, local, tribal and territorial governments as well as non-government entities to support citizens and first responders in preparing for, protecting against, responding to, recovering from, and mitigating all hazards, according to the release.
“The safety of all families and everyone in our communities is a basic responsibility of the federal government,” Cardin said in the release. “These federal funds will equip Maryland with the tools to address many different types of threats. Each of the grantees must work together effectively to improve protections for all of our communities.”
“Our communities are best served by being prepared for disasters, not just reacting to them — and the federal government plays a critical role in making sure that states are well-positioned to handle any crisis," Van Hollen, a member of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, said in the release.
The Maryland allocations of these grant programs are as follows:
The State Homeland Security Program supports states in the implementation of strategies to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events. At least 25% of the $8 million will be used for law enforcement terrorism prevention activities statewide.
The Urban Area Security Initiative provides funding to address the unique needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from acts of terrorism. The $4 million allocated to the Baltimore area will also target at least 25% to law enforcement terrorism activities.
The Emergency Management Performance Grant Program allocates resources to state and local emergency management agencies to prepare for all hazards. Maryland received nearly $6.5 million for statewide use.
The Nonprofit Security Grant Program awards funding for physical security enhancements and activities to organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. A little over $1.6 million is headed to 21 nonprofits in the Baltimore area; just under $1.3 million is allocated to National Capital Region nonprofits; and other state allocations total $150,000.
The Port Security Grant Program supports port authorities, facility operators, and state and local government agencies required to provide port security services in security activities at ports. The nearly $1.93 million in grant awards will go to Baltimore County, Maryland Natural Resources Police, Maryland State Police, Maryland Port Administration and the Queen Anne's County Sheriff's Office.
The Transit Security Grant Program awards funding to public transportation agencies serving urban areas for the purpose of enhancing security for bus, ferry, rail and other systems. The Maryland Transit Administration received $267,000.
The Intercity Bus Security Grant Program supports owners and operators of intercity bus systems to increase resiliency and protect against acts of terrorism. Nearly $156,000 was awarded to three companies: DD Enterprises Inc., Dillons Bus Service and Adventures by Dawn LLC.
These grants are intended to advance the nation toward FEMA’s National Preparedness Goal, which it defines as “[a] secure and resilient Nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.”