FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                 AG

AUGUST 17, 2001                                                                                                    202/616-2777                                                                                                    TDD 202/514-1888






DAYTON, OHIO – Following  a major domestic preparedness exercise, Attorney General John Ashcroft today announced that the Justice Department is awarding the state of Ohio more than $1.8 million to assess the state’s first responder needs and capabilities and to develop a comprehensive domestic preparedness strategy.          

"The threat of terrorism is a serious and growing challenge for our nation.  These funds will allow Ohio to create effective responses to these grave incidents," said Attorney General Ashcroft. 

 The award will help Ohio to assess domestic terrorism threats and the state’s capability in responding to them.  The information collected through these assessments will provide the state’s governor with a threat and vulnerability profile, identifying the specific needs and capabilities of first responders’ equipment, training, exercise support, and technical assistance. 

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA) will use the federal funds to gather information on potential terrorist threats, Ohio’s infrastructure and public health capabilities, and the equipment of the Ohio’s first responder agencies.  The state will give local jurisdictions specialized training equipment to administer the assessment, using contracts established with the EMA, the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association, and the Buckeye Sheriffs’ Association.   The federal funds are provided through the Justice Department’s Office for State and Local Domestic Preparedness Support’s Equipment Grant Program.

Before announcing the grant today, Attorney General Ashcroft observed a major exercise in Dayton designed to assess the city’s ability to respond to a chemical weapon terrorist incident. The Attorney General said, "I’m pleased to have this opportunity to see Dayton’s first responders at work in preparing for a terrorist biological incident.  Exercises like this are critically important to ensure that our nation is fully prepared to respond to terrorism here at home."

The exercise, conducted at the University of Dayton, provided training for Ohio’s first responders to terrorist incidents involving weapons of mass destruction, and it helped prepare local emergency personnel to respond to chemical terrorism incidents.  Local, state and federal officials, as well as social and medical professionals, participated in today’s exercise.

The Dayton exercise is part of the Office of Justice Programs’ Nunn‑Lugar‑Domenici Domestic Preparedness program (NLD‑DPP). The goal of the NLD‑DPP is to enhance the capability of state and local emergency agencies responding to domestic terrorism incidents involving radiological, biological and chemical agents.

To learn more about the Office of Justice Programs and its domestic preparedness efforts,  visit the Website at  Media should contact OJP’s Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307‑0703.



After hours contact: Christopher Rizzuto at 888/860‑0732 (pager)