Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

June 11, 2009

OHS Announces First Responder Grant Opportunities

New York State initiative to fill gaps and build on capabilities

Director Thomas G. Donlon, of the New York State Office of Homeland Security (OHS) today announced the availability of $1 million for three categories of grant funds for first responders. Technical Rescue/Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Teams are eligible under the Technical Rescue and USAR Grant Program, of which $500,000 of grant funding is available. The Explosive Detection Canine Grant Program will offer $250,000 in grant funds to local law enforcement agencies seeking to build a canine capability. Lastly, the Companion Animal Sheltering Equipment (CASE) Grant Program will offer $250,000 in funding for County Emergency Management Offices, working together regionally to develop animal sheltering capabilities. Funding for these grants is made available through the 2009 State Homeland Security Program (SHSP).

“These grant programs will further help our first responders in fulfilling their goals by closing their capability gaps. We have come a long way in assessing first responders’ needs and we work hard to ensure they have the best equipment and training possible as they continue to work hard to help protect all New Yorkers,” said Director Donlon.

“The State Homeland Security Program recognizes that public safety requires a coordinated effort at all levels of government,” said Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Denise E. O’Donnell. “This aid will ensure that our first responders – our first line of defense – have the support they need to prevent potential disasters and to react promptly and effectively if disaster does strike.”

Technical Rescue/USAR Grant Program

The Technical Rescue Grant/USAR Program launched by OHS, in conjunction with the Office for Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC), seeks to target and develop regional technical rescue capabilities across New York State. Many local jurisdictions have participated in OFPC’s USAR training programs and there is a desire to enhance their capabilities through this targeted program.

“Through targeted planning and equipment acquisition activities, the Technical Rescue and USAR Grant Program will continue to strengthen the State and local Urban Search and Rescue Teams and build upon their response capabilities,” said Director Donlon.

New York State Fire Administrator Floyd A. Madison said, “These grants should provide significant assistance in building New York State’s capability to respond to incidents requiring technical rescue and urban search and rescue (USAR) services. The Office of Fire Prevention and Control is pleased to partner with Homeland Security in making these grants a reality.”

While there are two formalized USAR teams in New York State, a state team in Albany and federal team in New York City, this funding will help enhance jurisdiction-specific teams across the State. The development of regional Technical Rescue and USAR capabilities at the local level will help expand coverage, enhance response capabilities, and help reduce response times statewide.

Requests for applications have been released. The application request limit is $100,000.

Explosive Detection Canine Program

Under the Explosive Detection Canine Program, OHS will support the development of a canine team within up to five local law enforcement agencies. Grant funds would be utilized to purchase the dog, a vehicle, and for training. Local law enforcement agencies participating in this program would be required to identify a handler for the dog and to provide funding for the dog’s food, supplies, and veterinary care.

Canine Explosive Detection Teams address terrorism ‘prevention’ gaps by providing a visible, proactive police presence in areas of mass gathering, transportation centers, and critical infrastructure. In addition to this deterrence presence, they provide a mobile response capability for detection and identification of potential explosive/improvised explosive device type incidents.

“Once again we are meeting our State’s strategic objectives by providing valuable funding to equip, train, exercise, and otherwise support these special operations and tactical response units, such as Explosive Detection Canine Teams,” said Director Donlon.

Requests for applications have been released and the limit on the applicants’ request for funding is $50,000.

Companion Animal Sheltering Equipment (CASE)

The CASE grant is a competitive program to develop five to 10 regional mobile equipment caches. This grant will fund the necessary planning, equipment, training and exercises to enable operational pet sheltering capabilities that can be deployed statewide.

Pet issues emerged during the recent ice storm in 2008 and during the summer flooding of 2006, in New York State. There has been minimal statewide capacity to shelter pets in emergencies which typically results in poor human compliance with evacuation orders, thus increasing the risk to the health and safety of the public and responders.

“This grant will enhance mass care and sheltering capabilities by obtaining mass care supplies and developing staff to compliment existing sheltering plans establishing sheltering opportunities for pets and companion animals. By developing, equipping, and training the volunteer corps to enhance the state’s ability to safeguard animals we are helping to close the gaps of local jurisdictions so they can meet the needs of their local citizens by providing these often forgotten necessities,” said Director Donlon.

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said, “One of the main reasons people do not evacuate their homes during an emergency is that they don’t want to leave their pets behind. This funding opportunity will offer the appropriate equipment and training to shelter companion animals, so pet owners who are asked to evacuate their homes will know their loved ones can be cared for until it is safe to return to their homes.”

In order to facilitate a regional approach to this grant funding opportunity, two or more counties are required to join together to submit an application.

Surrounding states, such as Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have either implemented or are implementing similar trailer-based pet sheltering capabilities. This cost-effective regional approach builds capability without requiring every county to expend money on equipment. These resources would also be available to respond statewide if needed.

Requests for applications have been released. The application spending limit is $50,000.

Applications for all three programs are due to OHS on July 15, 2009.

For more information you can visit us on the web:

New York State Office of Homeland Security:

Office for Fire Prevention and Control:

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets:

2009 Press Releases