U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln and U.S. Representatives Marion Berry (AR-01), Vic Snyder (AR-02) and Mike Ross (AR-04) today announced that the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management will receive a $272,518 U.S. Department of Transportation grant to train Arkansas's first responders on best practices for responding to emergencies involving hazardous chemicals and other materials.
Funds will be used to hire adjunct instructors who will train first responders at police and fire departments throughout Arkansas, as well as help the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management conduct planning and purchase equipment for training courses. The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management provides about 25 hazardous materials training courses for local emergency response personnel each month, and this funding will help continue those courses.
Hazardous materials include chemicals, explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons and radioactive materials.
"Our first responders work tirelessly and risk their lives to keep our communities safe," Lincoln said. "We owe it to them to make sure they are equipped with the training and resources they need to protect Arkansans. This investment will support hazardous materials training for emergency responders throughout our state, which is critical to the health and safety of our citizens and our first responders."
"When a community faces an emergency involving hazardous materials, first responders need to be able to take action quickly and effectively. This grant will help ensure that first responders across the state have the training necessary to handle these types of emergencies and keep Arkansans safe," Pryor said.
"Our first responders are some of the bravest men and women to serve our communities," Berry said. "They deserve all the support and resources we can give them to handle any scenario- from disposing of chemicals from meth labs, to dealing with a whole host of other life threatening hazardous materials they may encounter in the line of duty."
"Our communities rely on first responders to help keep our families safe and protect our homes," Ross said. "I am pleased to help announce these federal investments because our brave first responders must always have the resources and support they need to quickly answer the needs of their citizens."
"This grant will be used to train first responders to aid in the emergency response to hazardous materials incidents that occur in the state. Approximately 2,923 emergency responders received training as a result of last year's funding," said Kenny Harmon, Training Section Chief and Hazardous Materials Program Manager for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.