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PHMSA to award $30M for hazmat response

Oct. 5, 2023
Awards through six federal grant programs intended to support first responders, strengthen local efforts to react to hazardous materials incidents

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) says it plans to award over $30 million to support first responders and strengthen local efforts to respond to hazardous materials incidents.

“Firefighters and other local public servants are the everyday first-responder heroes that we rely on to immediately run to the emergency,” Tristan Brown, PHMSA deputy administrator, said in a news release. “These grants provide our emergency responders the resources they need to train and effectively respond to hazardous materials incidents.”

PHMSA is awarding grants to states, territories, tribes, and non-profits through six grant programs. This includes approximately:

  • $22 million for Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grants for states, territories, and tribes to train first responders on hazardous materials response and to support the development, implementation, and improvement of emergency plans for local and tribal communities.
  • $4.7 million in Hazardous Materials Instructor Training grants to support the training of hazardous materials instructors that train employees working with hazardous materials and first responders.
  • $1.3 million in Supplemental Public Sector Training grants to support non-profit organizations that train hazardous materials instructors conducting first responder trainings.
  • $1.2 million in Assistance for Local Emergency Response Training grants to support the training of volunteer or remote emergency responders’ response to incidents involving hazardous materials shipments by rail.
  • $1 million in Community Safety grants to enhance the capabilities of communities to respond to hazardous materials emergencies and the training of state and local enforcement personnel responsible for enforcing the safe transport of hazardous materials.
  • $290,000 in Hazardous Materials State Inspection grants to cover costs for state-run hazardous materials shipper inspections to include personnel, travel, equipment, supplies, and training for hazardous materials inspectors. 

One of PHMSA’s Fiscal Year 2023 priorities is ensuring underserved communities are prepared and trained to respond to hazardous materials transportation emergencies. This includes community response planning and training for fire, law-enforcement, and public safety access point personnel, PHMSA reported. The agency has done this by increasing outreach to communities and Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) and having grantees address working with underserved communities in their grant applications.

This effort helps carry out President Biden’s Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (86 FR 7009).