TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1997202/307-0703



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- To help states and localities improve their quick response to terrorist incidents, today the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) announced four grants totaling $1 million to emergency management agencies and fire departments in the State of Michigan, Los Angeles County, Albuquerque and New York City. The funds will be used to develop training curricula to improve the response to terrorist incidents, including when there is potential for use of weapons of mass destruction. The curricula will be incorporated into BJA's ongoing First-Responder Training Program.

The Michigan State Police Department of Emergency Management, the New York City Fire Department, the Albuquerque Fire Department and the Los Angeles County Department of Emergency Management each will receive $250,000. The grants are being made in accordance with the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

"We have seen several instances in our country that have shown us that the threat of terrorism is real and unpredictable," said BJA Director Nancy Gist. "We must do everything we can to prevent terrorist acts, but when they do occur, we must be sure that we have done all we can to equip those who respond first to act quickly and efficiently. These four departments will help lay the groundwork to enhance local responses."

BJA's First-Responder Program is being developed in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Fire Academy, the International Association of Fire Fighters and the International Association of Fire Chiefs to train emergency services personnel to respond to terrorist incidents.

Fire chiefs from each of the 120 jurisdictions eligible for the training selected two representatives to participate in the first-responder training. In addition, each state selected two representatives to participate in a "train-the-trainer" program conducted by the National Fire Academy, so they can train others from their state. A first-responder is a public safety officer, typically firefighters and emergency medical service technicians, who are the first to arrive at the scene of a disaster.

"BJA and FEMA realized that all jurisdictions faces the threat of terrorism," said Director Gist. "We want to provide first-responders all across America with practical insights and state-of-the-art knowledge to help them more effectively respond to terrorist and other dangerous incidents, and react to those hazards posed in a more informed and safe manner." Since the program's inception in June of this year, BJA and the National Fire Academy have trained 179 trainers from 95 jurisdictions, who are now qualified to both respond to emergencies and train emergency personnel in local jurisdictions. BJA intends to train an additional 127 trainers by the end of November. Over the next six to eight months, BJA projects these trainers will be able to provide training to an additional 6,000 first-responders.

In addition, BJA and FEMA developed the Emergency Response to Terrorism Self-Study Student Manual. This two-document set is a self-study training program available to every jurisdiction in the country.

Jurisdictions that complete the self-study and pass the test in the back of the publication receive a Certificate of Completion from the NFA. Hard copies of the self-study materials can be obtained by calling FEMA's United States Fire Administration Publications Office at 1-800/238-3358. The course and test are also available on the Internet at:

For additional information about BJA and its programs or OJP and its programs, go to OJP's web site at:

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BJA 98-010

For Additional Information contact: Doug Johnson at 202/616-3559 or pager 1-888/582-6750