Senate Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins announced today that the Department of Homeland Security has awarded Maine more than $242,000 in grants to fund improvements for emergency communications capabilities for first responders. Senator Collins secured the funding for a new Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program with an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2008 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.
“Emergency communications is a critical issue,” said Senator Collins. “Hurricane Katrina and the events of September 11th have shown us that our first responders and emergency services personnel often lack the equipment that allows for communication between multiple fire, police, and rescue departments, along with local, state, and federal agencies. I am pleased to see that this funding will help quicken and improve the response of Maine’s first responders.”
The amendment funding the grants was supported by the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, International, the Congressional Fire Service Institute, and the National Volunteer Fire Council. The amendment was coauthored by Senator Joe Lieberman, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. The Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program was established in a homeland security law that Collins and Lieberman co-authored last year.