By Nolan Madden
The Navajo County Emergency Management Department last week received an award of funds which will enhance its response capabilities throughout the county in the coming year.
The $34,500 award comes courtesy of the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP). Established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2003, the program was designated to include projects that provide National Preparedness System funding to local, state, and federal government agencies.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the HSGP helps fulfill one of the core missions of the Department of Homeland Security by enhancing the country’s ability to prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from major events such as terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies.
Navajo County Emergency Management Coordinator Catrina Jenkins explained to the Board of Supervisors Sept. 22 that “they are fully 100 percent reimbursable grants,” meaning that there is no cost impact to the county.
Navajo County Emergency Management Director Mary Springer provided further background on the grant award. “We work very closely with Navajo County District II Supervisor (Jesse) Thompson and Sheriff K.C. Clark. They are on the Arizona Department of Homeland Security Regional Advisory Council (RAC), and we take into consideration all the different entities that need assistance with this money. The six grant awards were reviewed by the different RAC entities and all were approved, so it went through a vigorous vetting process,” she said.
The Board of Supervisors approved allotment of the grant funds for this fiscal year for the following projects:
* 2015 Citizen Corps Program, $8,100, used to fund equipment and training for volunteers in the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Volunteers in Policing (VIP) and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) programs throughout Navajo County.
* Client Based Radio Software, $3,600, used to purchase licenses that will allow more communications on the Turbo radios used by the county emergency operations center during emergency events.
* Emergency Badging System, $5,500, used for credentialing responders, volunteers and event specific personnel to help ensure more security when necessary.
* Emergency Operations Laptop Computers, $7,500, updating emergency operations staff computers that are 10-plus years old and obsolete.
* Navajo County Sheriff’s Office First Aid Response Kits, $9,000, used to outfit sheriff’s deputies with first aid supplies needed in the field.
* High Frequency (HF) Antenna, $800, used to increase radio frequency capabilities for the county’s emergency operations center.
Springer said, “We were very fortunate to get the funding for our six projects so that we can make some improvements.”