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April 14, 2009

ITTF awards more than $1.4 million in local grants to boost emergency communications
Funds will aid development, planning, training and exercising of interoperable communications plans

SPRINGFIELD – Grants totaling more than $1.4 million have been awarded to 14 Illinois counties to enhance communications between emergency responders during disasters.  The Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) recently announced the grants, which can be used for the development, planning, training and exercising of county-wide emergency communications plans.  The grants are supported by federal homeland security funds through the federal Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program (IECGP).

“During a disaster, responders from several emergency response disciplines and even several jurisdictions are often called upon to respond,” said Andrew Velasquez III, the state’s homeland security advisor and director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA).  “The ability of those responders to communicate with other response agencies during an emergency is key to effective response.  These grants represent another step forward in our continuing effort to enhance emergency responder communications.”

In addition to the grants announced today, Velasquez said he received notification on Wednesday from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that Illinois will receive more than $2 million for IECGP funding in federal fiscal year 2009.  The allocation will enable the state to make additional grant awards later this year.

The goal of IECGP is to improve interoperable communications in response to natural disasters, acts of terrorism and other man-made disasters.  The funding will enable the local units of government to implement preparedness activities in support of Illinois’ Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan (SCIP) to further enhance interoperability.

Counties selected to receive the grants will be required to submit to the state a Tactical Interoperable Communications Plan (TICP) that coordinates with the Illinois SCIP.  Each participating county must establish or enhance an existing governance body with representatives from every municipality within the county that represent the responder organizations, including law enforcement, fire, emergency management, emergency medical services and telecommunications experts.  This multi-discipline/multi-jurisdictional governance body will coordinate development of the county’s TICP.

When completed, each county TICP also must be validated through a full-scale or table-top exercise.  Additionally, the counties are required to develop and submit to the ITTF an inventory of emergency communications frequencies used by public safety agencies in their jurisdiction.  All grant-related activities must be completed by June 30, 2010.

Counties receiving grants include:

Cook  $600,000
Lake  $132,000
Will  $  95,000
DuPage $  84,000
St. Clair $  71,000
McHenry $  69,000
Madison $  65,000
Kane  $  58,000
Sangamon $  56,000
Champaign $  54,000
McLean $  47,000
Peoria  $  37,000
Rock Island $  37,000
Winnebago $  26,000

The Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS), the statewide mutual aid organization for law enforcement, was also awarded a grant totaling $30,872, to assist with the implementation of training and education programs that support local, regional and state understanding of the Illinois SCIP and other statewide interoperable communications projects.


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