Sunday, May 18, 2014

Disaster Mitigation Grant Money Could be Available VERY Soon!!

Samaritan Services is now offering guidance and suggestions to assist applicants in preparing grant applications for funding of Disaster Mitigation projects. In a statement released today, Samaritan Services officially announced three model projects to improve public notification and to better coordinate rescue and recovery activities.

Candice Staggs, Samaritan Services Public Relations Director, announced the development of the TownCrier early warning public notification system to quickly announce weather related, natural, and unnatural life threatening events. According to Ms. Staggs, the system is efficient, affordable, easy to use and manage. 

A second system, known as SparkGap, has been developed to provide coordinated disaster response activities involving the combined resources of governmental, business, institutional, civic, support, and transportation services. Unlike public wireless networks, which can be completely overloaded, or conventional 2-way radio system which lack interoperability and extended operating life if electrical power fails; SparkGap is designed specifically for disaster activities.

SparkGap infrastructure is capable of extended operation without AC power and user devices, weighing less than three ounces can operate for three weeks or more from a single battery.  Each device is capable of interacting not with public safety first responders, but with EMA and Red Cross workers as well the Mayor and Council, all Police and Fire personnel, National Guardsmen, Red Cross workers, anyone associated with Healthcare, all Utility workers (electric, gas, water plus Internet, cable TV and telephone system providers), General contractors, Electricians and Plumbers, School administrators, Maintenance and Transportation personnel (including school bus drivers), Business owners and/or managers (in particular those involved with food, fuel and lodging), Towing and Wrecker services, Tree and Landscaping services, Neighborhood Association Presidents, Volunteer groups (Amateur radio operators, Explorer Scouts) and others involved in disaster response and recovery.

A third alternative project, known as HelpAlert, involves the use of 2-way radios that have the capability of being connected to the Internet to allow remote incident command support.  A system package is available consisting of a local area internet connected repeater and a cache of emergency personal 2-way radios.  A portion of these radios is normally assigned for daily use by for the purpose of emergency calling in schools, churches, and other facilities serving large numbers of people. Additional radios are retained in local government facilities for distribution to support personnel in times of emergency.

Municipalities in areas of high risk for earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes, or in close proximity to chemical manufacturing plants, nuclear facilities, railroads and highways carrying explosive and/or toxic materials, and other high risk areas should immediately look into the possibility of adding TownCrier and SparkGap systems using possible funding available from the 2014 Disaster Mitigation program administered by your county EMA.  New programs or additions to existing Mitigation plans are typically 75% federally funded.  Grant requests should be prepared and submitted to your county EMA office immediately. For additional information, contact Samaritan Services by email at or call 205.440.2639. You can also text