Homeland Security funds available

Homeland Security funds available to aid first responders through the Oklahoma First Responder equipment Program

Today Oklahoma Homeland Security Director Bob A. Ricks announced the availability of funds through additional phases of the Oklahoma First Responder Equipment Program (FREP). The First Responder Equipment Program is a multi-phased approach to providing equipment, training and other support to first responders in Oklahoma. The first phase of the FREP provided funding for existing response teams to replace diminishing or expiring supplies. Phases 2 through 10 will provide over $12,037,000 to fund regional response trailers, additional personal protection equipment, detection equipment and decontamination equipment for first responders of all disciplines.

Oklahoma Homeland Security Director and Commissioner of Public Safety Bob A. Ricks said, "It is crucial that our responders be equipped to handle any eventuality. Oklahoma has taken a comprehensive statewide approach to equip and train our first responders," said Ricks. "The Oklahoma First Responder Equipment Program will result in an increased capability to respond to an incident in the state of Oklahoma."

Funding for the Oklahoma First Responder Equipment Program is provided through the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Homeland Security through the Office of Domestic Preparedness (ODP). The funds are made available to the State of Oklahoma to purchase responder equipment to increase the capability of the state to respond to a hazardous materials incident or a weapon of mass destruction. The cornerstone of the First Responder Equipment Program is the creation of regional response trailers of varying sizes and capabilities to be located across the State of Oklahoma.

"Through the creation of regional response teams we will ensure a level of protection for citizens across the state of Oklahoma," said Ricks. "This is a joint effort between the United States Office of Domestic Preparedness, the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security and local communities willing to participate. The communities will provide the trained personnel to establish a response team, and the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security will provide for the equipping of the response team through funds provided by the Office of Domestic Preparedness," said Ricks.

Funds will also be available for other types of equipment such as personal protective, detection and decontamination equipment. Responders of all disciplines with the appropriate level of training are encouraged to apply. Authorized city and county officials, on behalf of the responder agencies can apply. The Governorís Committee on Homeland Security Funding will review all applications.

Beginning May 16, 2003, cities and counties from around the state will be able to access applications from the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security (OKOHS) to purchase the approved equipment. Applications can be accessed at the OKOHS website at www.youroklahoma.com/homelandsecurity or by calling 405/425-7296.

"Only through a comprehensive statewide approach can we provide for the increased level of preparedness for our first responders. The result will be the best possible protection for all of Oklahomaís citizens," said Ricks.