Grant funding is paramount when ensuring Californians are educated, trained and prepared for any incident or disaster. On October 1, 2018, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) was awarded a third year of hazardous materials funding for the 2016-2019 grant cycle.
Cal OES is actively engaged in carrying out approved Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) planning and training projects this year. Through effective collaboration with the Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) and the public, these projects will ensure that Cal OES can achieve a resilient California.
The HMEP Grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation/Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). PHMSA’s mission is to protect people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials that are essential to daily lives. To do this, the agency establishes national policy, sets and enforces standards, educates, and conducts research to prevent incidents. They also prepare the public and first responders to reduce consequences if an incident does occur.
Cal OES receives the HMEP Grant yearly on behalf of the State of California to prepare the public and first responders to protect lives and property, build capabilities, and support communities. HMEP Planning funds are used to bolster LEPCs and assist with emergency planning to ensure communities can effectively respond to a transportation related HazMat incident.
Typically, planning funds are used to update area plans, conduct commodity flow studies, and organize exercises at the local level. Grant money is oftentimes the only source of funding for these types of projects. By law, area plans are required to be updated every three years for the 86 Certified Unified Program Agencies statewide.
The training funds provide necessary HazMat training to the state’s public agency responders to respond safely and effectively to HazMat transportation incidents. Through direct HMEP-funded courses and the Outreach Program, the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) has provided specialized training to thousands of responders statewide.