The tragedy of 9/11 caused America's elected officials to recognize that law enforcement and other emergency responders around the nation were under funded. There was a stunning realization that the public was regularly asking its public safety professionals to do more with less. Adding the new demands of counter-terrorism would bring agencies to the brink.
As a result, the federal government initiated a number of new grant programs to help public safety organizations purchase the equipment and training they required to take on the challenges of a post-9/11 world. Direct assistance programs, such as the Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP), allow agencies to receive important tools and the training required to use them effectively.
Equipment and training awards
CEDAP is a federal grant program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In Fiscal Year 2007, DHS planned to award $33.7 million in equipment and training. A DHS press release boasts, "Since its inception in fiscal year 2005, more than $69.7 million in equipment and equipment training has been awarded through CEDAP to law enforcement agencies, fire and other emergency responders."
The CEDAP grants are limited to law enforcement, fire and other emergency responder organizations with specific financial and capability needs. The agencies must demonstrate that the equipment will be used to improve their ability and capacity to respond to a major critical incident or work with other first responders.
Equipment and equipment training awards are offered in five categories: personal protective equipment; thermal imaging, night vision and video surveillance tools; chemical and biological detection tools; information technology and risk management tools; and interoperable communications equipment.
The program's goal is to see that "CEDAP equipment awards are integrated with state planning processes for regional response and asset distribution. Each state's administrative agency has the opportunity to review applications submitted by first responder organizations within their state to ensure that equipment requests are consistent with their state homeland security strategy."
Products eligible for CEDAP grants are taken from the Responder Knowledge Base (RKB) found at www.rkb.mipt.org. The RKB is a Web-based database of emergency response products. The original goal of the RKB was to give public safety leaders a central repository for emergency products, information on certifications, as well as a way to research interoperability of different products.
To establish the CEDAP product list, officials at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, review different products and select specific brands and models to be included on the grant. Once the products are selected and funding is secured, FEMA announces the CEDAP application period. Applications are completed online using the RKB, and then competitively reviewed for the award process. Each applicant agency selects one item, that they have not been able to acquire through other DHS programs, from the menu of available equipment choices.
In 2007, the following products were offered through CEDAP:
- Bullard's TacSight SE35 Thermal Imager
- AN/PVS-14 Monocular Night Vision Security Kit from ITT Night Vision
- CEDAP Chemical Detection Kit including one Ahura First Defender and one MSA Sirius Multigas Detector
- CEDAP PPE Kit which includes a MSA Millennium CBRN APR, MSA CBRN canisters, a Dupont Tychem CPF 3 NFPA 1994 Class 3 (2001 Edition) coverall and shoulder-length overhood ensemble, one pair ONGUARD Industries Hazmax boots, and black nylon carry bag.