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Southern Nevada gets $5 million to prevent, prepare for terrorism

Posted at 5:20 PM, Aug 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-29 14:18:03-04

The Department of Homeland Security has forked out $5 million dollars to help Southern Nevada prepare for and prevent acts of terrorism.

The grant is part of the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program which helps to provide funding for high-threat, high-density urban areas.

"Prevention is always key," said Carolyn Levering, emergency management administrator for the City of Las Vegas.

"If we can stop it from ever happening, then we don't need all of this other training and equipment," said Levering.

Unfortunately, prevention does not eliminate the terrorism threat, Levering added.

Since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the federal government uses a risk assessment formula to spend millions of dollars to prepare local communities for future attacks.

In 2017, the Las Vegas Metropolitan statistical area (MSA) received approximately $2.85 million, according to Chief John Steinbeck from the Clark County Fire Department and chairman of the Urban Area Working Group.

This year, the area is receiving $5 million.

"After 1 October, we found that there were more things that we could be doing if we had enough funding so that increase to $5 million helped us pad the budget a little bit more," Levering said.

The increased funding means money for staff, training and equipment for the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center.

The center is staffed 24 hours per day and searches for terror threats and other crime.

"One of the vehicles [Las Vegas Fire and Rescue] uses was previously funded by Homeland Security grants, but it's aging out," said Levering.

"It's almost 12 years old now," she said.

Las Vegas Fire and Rescue is set to get a brand new HAZMAT response vehicle estimated to cost around $800,000.

Levering says the old one was purchased with federal funds provided after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Chief Steinbeck says some of the money will go toward training, medical supplies and even tactical vests for medics and firefighters to enter dangerous situations like the 1 October shooting.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto released a statement last week regarding the federal funding:

“Las Vegas welcomes 39 million visitors each year. While we are proud to be the Entertainment Capitol of the World, this status creates unique challenges for the city’s first responders. Today’s funding announcement will help provide certainty to critical agencies in Las Vegas that respond to catastrophic events, like what our community experienced after the 1October tragedy, and will better equip first responders to prevent future tragedies and keep residents as well as visitors safe. I will continue fighting in Congress to ensure that, as one of the world’s premier tourist destinations, the Las Vegas metropolitan area gets the support it needs to prevent and respond to emergencies.”

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