City snares $2 million for emergency preparedness

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September 22, 2003 // UPDATED 11:04 am - April 30, 2007
By: Scott Russell
Scott Russell

At a time when government leaders are cutting libraries and park budgets and basic city services, the city has received $2 million in antiterrorism grants to prepare for a worst-case attack.

The city has used the money to buy chemical suits, radiation detectors, defibrillators, portable weather stations, night-vision gear, body armor and gas masks with weapons-of- mass-destruction filters, according to a list released by Kristi Rollwagen, a Minneapolis Fire Department emergency preparedness coordinator. The city is using the money to begin weapons-of-mass-destruction training for first responders such as police officers, fire fighters and public works staff.

The city's success in bringing in grant dollars played a part in returning 32 laid-off firefighters back to their jobs early this month, Rollwagen said.

She provided the following list of successful grants:

2002

- $130,000 from the state for 850 3M gas masks -- the "6000 series full facepiece with soft carrying case and FR-64 WMD [weapons- of-mass-destruction] filter;"

- $115,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for water infrastructure security;

- $105,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for cardiac defibrillators used by the fire department;

- $50,000 from the Medical Reserve Corps to organize civilian emergency response teams;

- $201,246 from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for equipment, including $19,500 for 50 dosimeters to detect radiation exposure; $15,000 for the bomb squad's decontamination tent, $7,500 for chemical protective gear; and $4,900 for a mobile meteorological station;

- $321,270 from the state for training. It will pay for firefighters' overtime to attend a 16-hour course on responding to a terrorist attack at an "operations level," meaning they could work in a "hot zone" of a biological or chemical release, Rollwagen said. It pays for police overtime to attend courses on traffic control, incident command and specialized weapons-of-mass-destruction training;

- $87,415 from the state. It will pay to update the city's emergency operations plan and hire a consultant to do a threat assessment for fire, natural disasters and terrorist attacks; and

- $51,575 from the state for the Citizen Corp initiative.

2003

- $135,578 from FEMA for fire department fire hose nozzles and adapters;

- $357,196 from DOJ for equipment and training. Expenditures include $107,000 for water works security; $94,000 to equip police "entry teams" and bomb squad with night vision gear; $60,000 for "responder awareness training" for public works staff; $15,000 to retrofit a van for hostage negotiators; and $8,000 for body armor; and

- $500,000 from DOJ for police overtime funds for emergency preparedness;

Several large grant applications are still pending for 2003. The city has applied for a $1.6 million grant from the Metro Radio Board to upgrade its mobile data network system and for $3.2 million from DOJ for computer-aided dispatch (CAD) equipment for police and fire. The CAD system has vehicle-location systems, allowing dispatchers to identify the vehicles nearest an incident and reduce response times;