Since its inception, the Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program has provided nearly 5,800 direct assistance awards worth more than $103 million in smaller jurisdictions nationwide. In 2007 alone, the CEDAP program distributed more than $31 million of equipment to 1,853 awardees. And while historically law enforcement agencies have been the largest beneficiary of the program, receiving 72 percent of the awards last year, there are opportunities for fire departments.
CEDAP is a program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is supported by the U.S. Army's Electronic Proving Ground at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. It was established by Congress in 2005 to complement existing State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) and Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) funding and to provide equipment and training to rural and suburban segments of the public safety community. This followed recognition by Congress that these agencies are often not able to qualify for SHSGP or USAI funding, making it hard to purchase the specialized equipment needed to support the homeland security mission.
Applications for the program are completed online at the Responder Knowledge Base web site. Interested organizations can review commercially-available homeland security equipment from the general categories of extrication devices; thermal imaging, night vision and video surveillance tools; chemical, biological, and radiological detection tools; information technology and risk management tools; and tracking tools. Prospective applicants can then determine if an item from the list will assist their organization in meeting local and state homeland security mission priorities. Once an item from the catalog is selected, then the electronic application is completed.
Once received, the applications are then reviewed, rated and ranked. National subject matter experts with experience in the law enforcement and other public safety disciplines review and score the applications against established scoring criteria. The final selections are based on numerous factors, such as the overall budget, training costs and the final scores.
It is important to remember that CEDAP, as is the case with most grant programs, is a very competitive process. Applicants must be certain to fully complete the application and be thorough when demonstrating need — describing how the requested equipment will be integrated into the organization’s day-to-day operations — as well as how the equipment will enhance the overall capabilities of the agency. Don't forget to indicate that your agency will be able to maintain the equipment past the expiration of the manufacturer's warranty. More importantly, ensure that your application includes a statement that your agency will provide the equipment for use in neighboring communities.
Personnel of FEMA’s National Preparedness Directorate Information Desk have indicated that the application period for CEDAP 2008 will open within the next few months. They were not able to provide specific information concerning the equipment catalog, but a review of the Federal Business Opportunities web site (www.fedbizopps.gov) found that several of the contracts for the equipment to be offered have been awarded. While not official, these contract awards provide some insight into the 2008 CEDAP equipment categories and types.
The categories and amounts awarded at the time of writing this article include:
The awarded contacts account for $11.2 million in a yet unknown total of 2008 CEDAP funds. However, if any of the equipment described above would assist your organization in addressing local and state homeland security mission priorities, and you serve in a rural or suburban community, keep an eye on the RKB and FireGrantsHelp.com web sites and be prepared to complete your CEDAP application once the application period opens.
But for now, you can gather the requisite demographic and critical infrastructure information. You may also want to utilize the waiting period to gain more knowledge about the equipment that you will request. Remember, as you prepare your application keep the following points in mind:
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