WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to ensure that Rhode Island’s emergency responders are prepared to effectively respond to a range of security challenges, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced that the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) will receive a $126,607 Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grant.
Administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), this HMEP grant will enhance the state’s capability to respond to hazardous materials transportation incidents. HMEP grants aid in the development, implementation, and improvement of emergency plans for local communities, and can be used to train emergency responders to help communities prepare for a potential hazardous materials transportation incident, including combustibles, explosives, and radioactive or toxic substances.
“This federal grant will help Rhode Island’s first responders prepare for a range of emergencies, from oil spills to chemical explosions, and help ensure they can protect the public from hazardous materials,” said Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. “I commend RIEMA and all of our first responders for the excellent work they do to enhance safety. It is critical that we provide them with the resources they need to adequately prepare, plan, and train for all kinds of disasters and hazards.”
“It’s important that the State of Rhode Island remains vigilant and prepared for any hazard that we may face,” said Peter Gaynor, Director of RIEMA. “This federal HMEP grant will afford us more opportunity to train, plan, and prepare for a diverse spectrum of hazardous materials incidents. We are fortunate in Rhode Island to have a robust hazardous materials program with contingency plans that address issues such as radioactive and toxic substance spills and transportation incidents that may affect key state infrastructure, and this grant will allow us to further develop and strengthen that program.”
Through his work on the Appropriations Committee, Senator Reed helped to make $28.3 million available for the HMEP grant program in the fiscal year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill.
Congress created the HMEP grant program in 1990. The program allows recipients to design and implement planning and training programs according to their specific needs. HMEP grants are funded by annual user registration fees, which are paid by shippers and carriers of certain hazardous materials in commerce.