Brunswick lands $21K from Homeland Security

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BRUNSWICK — The Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency announced it will give the town $21,400 in Homeland Security grants.

The allotment announced Nov. 9 is part of a $160,000 grant given to Cumberland County by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Each fiscal year, a quarter of the total award is designated for county-wide preparedness efforts and response capabilities for Homeland Security related events, the county said.

The rest of the grant is allocated for cities and towns within the county, all of which go through an application process, to support the needs of first responders.

Brunswick will receive two grants under the program.

One, for $15,000, will help the town’s regional response team support hazardous materials operations. The second grant, for $6,400, will be put towards a radio identifier communications project aimed at making contact easier between first responders during emergencies.

Jim Budway, EMA director for the county, said the state determines which municipalities’ efforts are most worthy of the funding each year, and his office dispenses the funds. Because a regional response team is in Brunswick, Budway said the state sees the town’s preparedness as helpful to more than just its immediate residents.

“The state sees the hazardous material team as a team that responds to areas bigger than the town of Brunswick,” Budway said. “Inside of Cumberland County we have three regional response teams: Portland, South Portland and Brunswick.”

The regional teams respond to homeland security crisises such as hazardous spills or the use of weapons of mass destruction. Budway said the county also has one Decontamination Strike Team, which is a division that assists the RRT and can help decontaminate those who have been exposed to hazardous materials. 

The second grant will help fund new technology that will reduce communication confusion during emergencies. Budway said while emergency teams always identify themselves on the radio, it can sometimes be difficult to hear what a person is saying, which can hinder the response process.

“They’ll identify themselves, but sometimes it gets lost when you’re speaking on the radio. It’s hard to keep track of which unit is calling you,” he said. “Now there will be no confusion because there will be something that will light up.” 

Both grants are provided at no cost to the town and don’t require matching funds.

Elizabeth Clemente can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or eclemente@theforecaster.net. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @epclemente.

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