Key Panel Approves $1.5 Million For Houston-Area First Responders

In: All News   Posted 09/05/2003

WASHINGTON – When U.S. Sen. John Cornyn held a roundtable with Houston-area first responders in February, the group’s priority request was for interoperable communications to support their ability to communicate between the various agencies. On Friday, Cornyn announced that his first request to the Senate Appropriations Committee panel that allocates such funding approved $1.5 million for Harris County to purchase this critical communications gear. "As we face increasing threats around the globe, and here at home, the preparedness of Texas cities are among the highest priorities,” Cornyn said. “The men and women in our cities and towns who face the very real threats to our nation every day—our hometown security—are the most powerful force we have to defend our homes and families. We should do everything possible to ensure that our first responders have every tool possible to accomplish their difficult and dangerous task.” the funds, if approved by the full Senate and signed by the President, would be used to construct a backup regional control site to ensure redundancy in communications should the existing site be disabled or destroyed. Without the redundant site, a loss of the original tower would mean that each remote tower site would function as a standalone radio system, and not as part of the regional command and control system. interoperability of communications was one of the priorities identified by first responders in the wake of September 11. Communications between various first responder agencies and emergency management teams are essential to effective and rapid response to emergencies."I applaud the subcommittee for recognizing this important need in the Houston area—and funding it,” Cornyn said. “This is just the first step in the appropriations process, but it is key toward achieving the goals outlined by the first responder community.” Sen. Cornyn has held roundtable meetings with first responders throughout Texas this year to discuss hometown security, including in Houston, Dallas, Sherman, Waco, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa and Beaumont. He serves on the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee. the funding request was made through the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), a voluntary association of local governments and local elected officials throughout the Gulf Coast Planning Region. H-GAC has 132 local government members.