Better Than A Grant: Free Equipment and Training

So who is eligible you ask? To be more specific, any law enforcement, fire department, EMS agency, and even formally organized task forces are eligible to apply.

The Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP) program was brought into existence after recognizing that it's not just the major urban areas that are at risk for major terrorism incidents.

And the main criteria for eligibility are that the applicant is not eligible for funding through other Homeland Security sources. This does not include the Assistance to Firefighters Program (AFG), as that is meant for funding basic firefighting needs. The majority of true Homeland Security funding has gone to the areas within the Department of Homeland Security's identified Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) zones.

These zones are defined as: any city with over 100,000 in population and usually extends to a 10-mile radius. Many zones cross state boundaries, and many include areas with a significant maritime presence in the form of ports or even shipping lanes. Since most of the country doesn't fit into that definition, CEDAP was born to fill that gap in assisting agencies in meeting the 37 Target Capabilities that DHS has identified for emergency responders. These include the main headings of Prevention, Protection, Response, and Recovery. The specific goals, training, equipment, and agencies each capability is intended for are listed on the Responder Knowledge Base website at

What Resources are Available?

The list of equipment was also carefully designed. Each piece of equipment fulfills a need as defined in the Target Capabilities. The main categories include:

  • PPE
  • Rescue Tools
  • Thermal Imaging, Night Vision, & Video Surveillance
  • Chemical & Biological Detection Equipment
  • Information Technology & Risk Management Tools
  • Information Communications Gateways

The highlights of the program for Fire and EMS agencies are the two available sets of hydraulic rescue tools from Amkus. Both sets include an O-cutter, a 32-inch spreader, a 30-inch ram with 10-inch extension, two 30-foot hoses, and a power unit. One set has the gas powered unit, the other is electric powered. Both will run two tools at one time, so this is a more than capable set especially if a department doesn’t have any rescue tools.

CEDAP also features a Bullard T3 Max Thermal Imaging Camera, several detectors and sampling kits for CBRN incidents, and a PPE set including a respirator, Class 3 suit, boots and gloves.

Communication & Interoperability Gear

The two available communications gateways are a very simple solution that's easy to deploy on major incidents involving responders from different areas with different communications devices.

The first unit is the Incident Commanders Radio Interface (ICRI) module. This item is a mobile gateway that allows the IC to patch together different communications devices in order to create one channel. The unit can connect up to 4 devices including a radio on any band (VHF, UHF, 800Mhz) on any platform (analog, digital, trunked), as well as cell phones, landline phones, military radios, and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) equipment.

Those departments that have been fortunate enough to have been awarded in previous phases of CEDAP that I have talked with think they are a Godsend. They are definitely an inexpensive first step to communications interoperability.

The Radio Inter-Operability System (RIOS) is basically a mobile Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. This particular technological advance can be configured to handle 911 calls as well as dispatch responders and their radio traffic. It comes with a laptop, and a chassis housing for all of the needed connections.

RIOS has the capability to be powered by 12 volt vehicle systems so it is portable. It can be connected to any types of communications devices just like the ICRI, but the difference between this unit and the ICRI is that users can create talk groups with the connected devices. The RIOS can be networked with other computers through a Local Area Network to expand capabilities, as well as recording all radio traffic and generating transcripts of recorded traffic and phone calls in Microsoft Word.

This content continues onto the next page...