The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) received a $2,098,575 grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to put in place state-level contingency plans and programs to combat terrorism and to educate and protect on a local level throughout the state.
The grant will cover collaborative efforts between MEMA and local emergency management offices in 24 jurisdictions throughout the state for three years.
The announcement on July 13 revealed MEMA as one of 29 successful nationwide applicants to receive the grant. MEMA received one of the largest amounts of funding, second only to the Mid-America Regional Council, which received $2,251,502.
"These funds will enable our state to incorporate a comprehensive approach to preparing for and responding to the threat of terrorism into our emergency management system," said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan after the announcement.
The grant focuses on developing state-level contingency plans against complex regional coordinated terrorist attacks, as well as planning guides to increase capabilities at the local level. The grant will also fund complex coordinated terrorist attack operational training. The training will be targeted to incident managers and responders through local emergency management offices.
Chas Eby, director of Risk Reduction & Strategy for MEMA told Homeland Security Today that MEMA has not decided exactly how the funding will be distributed and seeks to involve all local jurisdictions, including regional partners outside of the state.
Eby noted MEMA’s "all-hazards approach to emergency management” in combatting terrorist attacks.
“We really believe that complex coordinated terrorist attacks are just another piece of the pie that we are preparing for," he said.
The DHS grant serves as an important source of funding to help increase MEMA’s capabilities in combatting possible threats. The most important goal for MEMA, Eby said, is “to be part of both a comprehensive and systemic approach to emergency management,” not simply combat possible terrorist attacks within the state.
“If there is an incident that we have never seen before, we will still have a system in place to deal with it,” he added.
MEMA has stated that this grant will consist of finances from the DHS fiscal year 2016 Budget.