- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2002

Maryland will receive $5.9 million in federal funds to enhance its ability to respond to acts of terrorism involving biological or chemical agents, or nuclear, radiological or explosive materials, the Justice Department said yesterday.
"Our nation's emergency first responders courageously stand on the front line in our fight against terrorism," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "This grant highlights the administration's and Department of Justice's commitment to providing states and local emergency first responders the resources they need to respond to any future acts of terrorism.
"This grant is part of a larger federal effort to ensure the safety of our nation against future acts of aggression," he said.
The department yesterday also awarded $6 million to Indiana; $4 million to Utah; $6 million to Wisconsin; $6 million to Arizona; $8 million to Georgia; $4 million to Iowa; $10 million to Illinois; $3 million to New Mexico; $5 million to Puerto Rico; and $16 million to Texas.
The funds, from the department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP), will be used to purchase specialized equipment for emergency response agencies, including law-enforcement personnel, fire and emergency medical services and hazardous-materials response units the first responders to terrorist acts involving weapons of mass destruction.
They also will be used for training exercises involving the use of weapons of mass destruction.
The grant is awarded under the department's State Domestic Preparedness Program, administered by OJP's Office of Domestic Preparedness.
Under the program, the Justice Department will provide more than $315 million for the states to purchase emergency first responder equipment and conduct training exercises. Maryland previously received $2.7 million in equipment funds as part of the domestic-preparedness equipment program.
The funds can be used to purchase a wide array of equipment, including personal protective equipment; chemical-, biological- or radiological-detection and decontamination equipment; communications equipment; physical-security-enhancement equipment; weapons -of-mass-destruction technical rescue equipment; general support equipment; and medical supplies and limited types of pharmaceuticals.
The Office for Domestic Preparedness was established in 1998 and is the Justice Department's primary program office responsible for enhancing the capacity of state and local jurisdictions to respond to and reduce the consequences of incidents of domestic terrorism.

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