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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Homeland Security

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina has received about $43
    million in federal money to respond to terrorist attacks, State Law
    Enforcement Division Chief Robert Stewart says.
    The grants from the U.S. Homeland Security Department will go
    toward equipment and training for the workers who will respond
    first to a terror attack or a natural disaster, Stewart said
    Wednesday.
    Nearly $30 million will be spent by the state on equipment such
    as outfitting a team that can rescue victims out of collapsed
    buildings, a first in South Carolina, Stewart said.
    The money also will go toward special response teams stationed
    in each county with a population of more than 100,000,
    decontamination equipment for all of South Carolina's 46 counties
    and improved communication devices.
    The special equipment will be shared with all agencies across
    the state, Stewart said.
    "We're having to do business in a new way. We have to rely on
    one another," Stewart said, flanked by a SLED helicopter and bomb
    disposal truck at the agency's headquarters in suburban Columbia.
    In a separate, previously announced grant, the port in
    Charleston will receive $5 million for a permanent radiation
    detection system and an additional $5 million for other security
    improvements.
    Also, $5 million of the federal money will be sent directly to
    counties to spend as they see fit. Each county will get $50,000,
    with the rest divided based on population, ranging from an
    additional $6,700 for McCormick County to an extra $255,000 for
    Greenville County.
    Four task forces of local, state and federal officials from
    different regions of the state were in charge of deciding how to
    distribute the money.
    Providing money for local authorities to spend on what they need
    is important, Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said.
    "You cannot have homeland security without having hometown
    security," Foster said.
    Newberry County will receive about $75,000, and officials plan
    to spend the money buying a gas mask and protective suit for every
    deputy, paramedic and any other emergency worker who might have to
    respond to a terror attack first.
    That way the first officers could try to contain the situation
    during the few hours it takes the specially equipped teams from
    Columbia or other places to get to Newberry County, Foster said.
    Also, there is as much chance a small town or county officer may
    stop a terror strike as federal agents. After all, Foster points
    out it was a rookie Murphy, N.C., police officer that caught Eric
    Rudolph last month after he spent five years eluding one of the
    largest manhunts in the nation's history.
    "Chances are if we stop a weapons-of-mass-destruction attack,
    it will be done by a local officer making a traffic stop," Foster
    said.
    As chief of SLED, Stewart became the leader of state homeland
    security when Gov. Mark Sanford put state agents in charge of
    protecting South Carolina shortly after taking office in January.
    Sanford praised Stewart for passing out money based on need,
    instead of politics. He also said it was important to give local
    agencies a stake in deciding how the money was spent.
    "The threat of terrorism may come when we least expect it,"
    the governor said.
    Stewart said the grants are just the beginning. State officials
    will have to revise their plans on how to respond to terror attacks
    by the end of the year. They also hope to find more federal money
    to try to prevent attacks in the first place.
    "We've come a long way in South Carolina," Stewart said. "But
    we still have a long way to go."

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber truck6alpha's Avatar
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    I like the part about the special teams that search for people in collapsed buildings.
    Michael "Mick" Mayers
    Acting Director, Urban Search and Rescue
    South Carolina Emergency Response Task Force
    www.sctf1.sc.gov

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