State and local governments to be reimbursed $2.4 million for war security

Nevada will receive nearly $2.4 million from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to reimburse local governments for beefed-up security during the war with Iraq.

The state Department of Emergency Management has started asking local governments to apply for reimbursement. Applications will be reviewed by a state committee, checked for eligibility, and the money will be dispersed quickly, said Department of Emergency Management Director Frank Siracusa.

Cities and counties may be eligible to recoup costs related to elevating the national threat level to "high" during the war, which may have resulted in paying overtime to emergency personnel, police and security officers, or taking increased security measures.

The state emergency department will also receive its second installment of funds from the Homeland Security department to pay for training and expanding Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT).

On Friday, Michael Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, announced the release of $225,000 to Nevada for citizen teams. The state received $250,000 in the fall.

Citizen emergency response teams are used throughout the country to supplement emergency efforts. Each volunteer member completes 20 hours of training on disaster preparedness, basic disaster medical operations, fire safety, light search and rescue, and other emergency procedures.

Teams are used during disasters or crises to help police and fire agencies educate the public, open shelters, and assist the public.

"It's part of an effort to get citizens better prepared to respond to disasters of all kinds," said Federal Emergency Management spokesman Bob Rice.

The state has active citizen teams in Las Vegas and Moapa Valley. Siracusa said the money received will be granted to counties that in turn will pass it on to local governments to help them either enhance existing teams or help establish teams.

"There's really not enough money there to do anything more than just help administratively," Siracusa said. "The money is going to help us to encourage local governments to build CERT programs throughout the state."

"There are not enough (police, fire and emergency responders) out there to really canvass the entire state and do everything," Siracusa said. "(CERT volunteers) are really important because you can never have enough folks to work those kinds of things."


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