WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Homeland Security's Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, known as FEMA, provided $165 million in grants to help state and local governments better prepare to respond to all hazards preparedness activities and emergency management. These funds are a result of a significant increase in funding for the Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) program from the FY 2003 budget.

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge noted, "This is an important step in getting essential funding to our state and local governments to help them battle this national effort in the war on terror. We recognize the challenge that the state and localities face when planning to respond to a potential disaster."

The EMPG program provide states the flexibility to allocate funds according to risk vulnerabilities and to address the most urgent state and local needs in all hazard mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. The effectiveness of state and local responder organizations is critical to the success of all aspects of the homeland security mission, but especially to disaster response operations. Local emergency managers plan, train, exercise and provide the facilities needed to coordinate all emergency services in response to major incidents. They also assume the leading role in mitigation program activities, those designed to reduce the vulnerability of communities to all hazards.

"The $165 million to state and locals for all hazards preparedness represents a 40 percent increase from FY 2002 EMPG funding," said Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response.

The EMPG program, which was first awarded in FY 2000, was intended to consolidate funding streams that FEMA provides to state emergency management departments and agencies.

Department of Homeland Security