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Homeland Security funds keep local agencies connected

The city of Beaverton has received a hefty cut of federal funding to help boost communication capabilities in the event of a terrorist attack or major disaster.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office for Domestic Preparedness recently awarded grants to states for enhancing local capabilities for detecting, deterring, disrupting and preventing acts of terrorism.

'While these are terrorism-related grants, we try as much as possible to gain benefit and increased capability for our all-hazard response and recovery operations,' said Michael Mumaw, Beaverton's emergency management program manager. 'These grant awards are great examples of that, where the increased communications' capability and inter-operability benefit daily operations as well as our ability to respond to and recover from all types of major incidents.'

The city's grant application was part of a countywide application with the Office of Consolidated Emergency Management for Washington County, which has led an effort to develop a strategy to identify needs and assess capabilities to respond to natural disasters and terrorist events.

'The grant requests are based on needs identified as part of a continuation of a long-term, county-wide strategy that was initially developed several years ago,' Mumaw said.

New radios

Washington County this year received $250,000 in Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program grants, $250,000 in State Homeland Security Program grants and $25,836 in Citizen Corps Program grants.

Of the total, $88,901 was earmarked for Beaverton's emergency management program.

A $79,500 Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program grant will allow Beaverton to purchase 20 800-MegaHertz portable radios, a $17,000 repeater antenna and $12,500 mobile data terminal to be installed in Sunset High School.

'By installing the equipment in the building, law enforcement and fire officials will be able to communicate into and out of the building,' Mumaw said. 'It will ensure full radio coverage on the campus. There are pockets right now where radios do not work.'

The additional radios also will significantly increase the number of channels that can be stored on the radios, including all of the national all-call channels that increase the city's ability to communicate with other emergency responders including federal agencies, he added.

They will also boost communication with regional partners across all of the 800-MHz systems in the Portland metropolitan area.

The city also received a $2,666 State Homeland Security Program grant to purchase Very High Frequency, narrow-band portable radios and a High Frequency amateur radio with antenna for Beaverton's Emergency Operation Center.

'These radios will increase our ability to communicate with Washington County, the state and federal officials in the event of an emergency,' Mumaw said. 'They will allow us to reach out and relay health and welfare information to other states as well.'

Beaverton also received a $6,735 Citizen Corps Program grant to purchase equipment, training supplies and outreach materials for the Community Emergency Response Team program.

The grant includes $5,000 for public education and outreach which will be used to educate the public on the importance of being prepared and recruitment of people for the city's CERT teams.

'I'm very pleased with the grants we received,' Mumaw said. 'We did very well.'