Teamwork helps EMA

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LISBON - The Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency's joint effort with other five counties to seek federal Homeland Security grant money resulted in nearly $300,000 being awarded for three projects.

EMA Director Luke Newbold reported Friday they were notified the following projects had been selected for funding:

- $180,000 for a 600-kilowatt diesel mobile generator capable of producing enough electricity to power critical care areas of a hospital should the facility lose electricity and its back-up generators fail. This will be shared with the other five counties, Harrison, Carroll, Jefferson, Stark and Mahoning.

- $104,700 for two hazardous material kits capable of detecting gas and radioactivity. One of the kits will go to the East Liverpool Fire Department, which is the state-designated hazmat team for Columbiana County.

- $9,439 to purchase and outfit a trailer that will be converted into a mobile command and communications center. The county EMA has its own such trailer, but this trailer would be available for use by the other counties.

This was among the seven projects submitted for funding consideration, which totaled $5.58 million. This included $3.5 million for a countywide system of 32 warning sirens and $1.7 million to expand MARCS, a radio system used solely for law enforcement agencies to communicate with each other.

Newbold intends to begin approaching companies involved in the oil and gas boom underway in the county and asking for donations to help pay for the siren system, "to give our citizens the best chance at protection" in case of an accident.

The county decided to take this joint approach because the amount of Homeland Security money allocated for counties has been dropping in recent years and the grant application process has become more competitive. Newbold and the other counties felt they stood a better chance of getting projects funded in larger amounts by joining together instead of applying for the limited funding separately.

Newbold thanked Deanna Danver and Julie Dunlap, who are in charge of emergency preparedness at Salem Community Hospital and East Liverpool City Hospital, respectively, for their help with preparing the generator portion of the grant application. He also thanked East Liverpool Fire Chief Bill Jones and Don Kemp, who is in charge of EMA's communications, for also assisting.