Photo: The old Illinois State Capitol Building

Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich last week encouraged first responder agencies to apply for no-cost homeland security response and prevention equipment through a federal program that last year provided equipment, training and technical assistance to nearly 70 law enforcement, fire and emergency management agencies in Illinois. The Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP) is administered by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

"In Illinois, we've invested more than $400 million in homeland security funds to enhance emergency preparedness and response in every corner of this state," said Blagojevich. "The Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program offers an excellent opportunity for first responders in Illinois to further enhance these response capabilities with equipment from the federal government, and I encourage every response agency to apply."

Beginning May 30, response agencies from across the nation can begin applying directly to the federal government for equipment through CEDAP. Equipment to be awarded through a competitive process includes extrication devices; thermal imaging, night vision and video surveillance tools; chemical, biological and radiation detection tools; information technology and risk management tools; and tracking tools.

Information and applications for the competitive federal assistance program are available online and must be submitted by June 30. DHS will notify successful applicants later this year.