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Wise County, Norton included in Homeland Security grants

Staff report • Aug 31, 2018 at 3:30 PM

WISE — Wise County and Norton first responder departments have been included in a $7 million allocation of Homeland Security grant awards announced Friday by Gov. Ralph Northam. The funds will be administered by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM).

“Virginia’s emergency management personnel and first responders work tirelessly to protect their fellow Virginians and ensure public safety,” Northam said in a press release. “These grants are funding a diverse group of projects in communities across Virginia, further enhancing our resiliency and improving the commonwealth’s ability to prepare for and respond to all hazards.”

In the batch of competitive grant awards, Wise County will receive $88,331 toward a Southwest regional mass notification system; $21,000 for regional response vehicle ballistic protection upgrades; and $36,000 for equipment sustainment of the Wise County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Team. The city of Norton will receive $23,099 for an interoperable VHF repeater.

In the noncompetitive group of awards, Wise County’s Hazardous Materials Team will receive $52,000.

“Federal emergency management and Homeland Security grants to Virginia have been cut by nearly 70 percent since 2008, and emergency managers throughout Virginia have worked to become more strategic about allocating our limited funding to meet the greatest needs,” said VDEM State Coordinator for Emergency Management Jeff Stern.

“Nearly 200 local leaders from emergency management, law enforcement, fire and rescue, and (emergency medical services or EMS) representing communities throughout Virginia participated in evaluating potential projects to allocate this limited funding to do the most good.”

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