PARKERSBURG - Wood County commissioners approved an application Monday for a $97,822 Homeland Security/Emergency Management grant to be forwarded for review.
The grant pays part of the salary and benefits for three positions, Wood County Emergency Management Director Ed Hupp; EMS Deputy Director/911 Assistant Director Carl Sizemore and administrative assistant Mary Beth Jeffers.
"This is an annual grant we apply for, the application goes to the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in Charleston. The grant is to be matched dollar for dollar, and it goes back to the beginning of the year," said Wood County grant coordinator Toni Tiano. "In addition to part of the salaries, benefits, and insurance for three staff, we are also asking for $2,400 in this grant this year to purchase a radiation meter/geiger counter," Tiano said.
Hupp said the county has a 1960s model geiger counter piece of equipment that has not been calibrated and needs replaced. The EMS director said the equipment, if needed, now has to be brought from Charleston. "It would be used in conjunction with the Marcellus Shale drilling and we are going to be seeing more of that," Hupp said.
Hupp said it would also be used if there was an accident involving a vehicle marked as a radiation hazard. "My concern is for the first responders coming onto a scene like that. We need to know what we are dealing with," Hupp said.
The applications for the grant are due Nov. 30.
Tiano noted while the grant covers the calendar year 2013, last year the grant awarded didn't come until January of the following year.
"We need the meter and we are trying to get the grant to pay for half of the cost," Hupp told the commissioners, noting he did not have funds in his budget to purchase the equipment.
The commissioners unanimously approved the application to be sent to Charleston for review.