BENTON -- Scott County Emergency Management and the city of Portageville are among the 30 Citizen Corps Councils to be awarded Homeland Security funds recently.
"We were approved for $7,000," said Joe Burton, emergency management director for Scott County. "This money from Citizen Corps is mostly used for education efforts for the local public. It can be used for some classes like first aid classes and CPR classes - it's basically used for education."
Gov. Matt Blunt announced Tuesday that Fiscal Year 2005 Homeland Security grants totaling $199,000 will go to support 30 local Citizen Councils.
The councils are grassroots volunteer organizations that help their local communities prepare for disasters.
"Citizen Corps Councils are comprised of Missourians dedicated to helping their fellow citizens prepare for natural disasters or possible terrorist attacks," Blunt said in his press release. "These everyday heroes deserve our thanks and appreciation for the outstanding work they accomplish on limited budgets. I am pleased these grants will help them continue to help keep Missouri prepared and ready to respond to any crisis."
Citizen Corps Councils support five programs including Medical Reserve Corps, Fire Corps, Community Emergency Response Team, Volunteers In Police Service and Neighborhood Watch.
"We have to do at least one of them," Burton said. "Any volunteer groups that operate in support of actual first responders can be part of the Citizens Corps Council."
Missouri currently has six Medical Reserve Corps units and over 100 CERT units.
Burton said he has just been notified of the grant award and will be consulting with Scott Ezell, who coordinates the CERT program for Scott County, on how best to use the funds.
Karen Hitchcock, the new director of economic development for Portageville, said her city was approved for $11,000 and is "thrilled to receive it."
"We look forward to implementing new programs to benefit the city as well as maintain what has been done in the past," she said.
Vince Berry, CERT director for Portageville, said the Portageville Citizen Corps has had several of the required programs in place.
"Part of that (grant money) will be going for keeping those programs going, especially the Neighborhood Watch and the CERT programs," he said.
The money will also be used to resupply, as many resources were used in Caruthersville following a recent tornado, and to expand, Berry said.
"Instead of there being just a Portageville Citizen Corps, it will be become a New Madrid County program," he said. "This allows the programs to move out into the other towns."
Other Citizen Corps Councils in this area receiving FY05 grant awards include the Cape Girardeau Fire Department and Stoddard County Citizen Corps.