Homeland-security grant would bolster county emergency needs

San Mateo County may soon be a little more prepared for a major emergency.

The Sheriff’s Office has applied for a $2.5 million grant in the past from the Department of Homeland Security and received it each time.

The county already has a bevy of projects lined up to use the money, county Emergency Services Supervisor Bill O’Callahan said.

In the past, the county, which receives the money and disburses it to local agencies, has used the grants to create the SMC Alert system and Community Emergency Response Team training for residents, O’Callahan said.

The Board of Supervisors approved the request for the Sherriff’s Office at its meeting Tuesday.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security set aside $37.2 million for the Bay Area under its 2008 Urban Areas Security Initiative, part of $1.8 billion in new grants offered nationwide this year. The county will get a small portion of that, but that is separate from the $2.5 million for which it has just applied.

Homeland-security dollars have helped San Mateo County purchase siren warnings for tsunami alerts, improved communications systems and an all-purpose emergency vehicle that resembles a tank, according to officials.

With much of its machinery needs addressed already, the county will focus on operational and communication projects in the future, according to officials. Requests for more personal ham radios and funding for the expansion of community emergency response teams are included in this year’s Super Urban Area Security Initiative request.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Examiner Staff Writer Mike Rosenberg contributed to this report.

Security funds

Where the money from a homeland-security grant could go:

  • Increasing equipment and training for confined space rescue training
  • Upgrading communications equipment
  • Stocking up on pharmaceutical and other supplies for pandemics and other emergencies
  • Bolstering San Mateo County’s 24-member weapons of mass destruction SWAT team
  • Improve the reverse 911 system
  • Replace the bomb squad’s explosive disposal equipment

Source: San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services

Bay Area NewsemergencyHomeland SecurityLocal

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