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Higgins announces FEMA grant totaling over $929,000 for regional pandemic preparedness projects in New York

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Wed, Aug 19th 2020 09:40 pm

Funding will help New York implement pandemic preparedness plan in WNY

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, announced a federal grant totaling $929,414 has been awarded to New York for pandemic preparedness projects to help increase the planned pandemic response in upstate New York, including Erie and Niagara counties.

Higgins said, “The COVID pandemic hit many American communities hard and left local governments struggling to recover. We have to be better prepared. These federal grants will take the lessons learned from the current pandemic and apply them to build a better, more robust and efficient pandemic response.”

The New York state regional preparedness project addresses the specific capability needs of each metropolitan statistical area (MSA) based on prior preparedness assessments and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Buffalo-Niagara MSA, which includes all of Erie and Niagara counties, a regional logistics plan will be developed and continuity of operations plan updated to address pandemic considerations; in addition, a more robust training program will be implemented to support the health and wellness of first responders during a pandemic. The federal funding will also fund preparedness projects in the Albany, Poughkeepsie and Syracuse MSAs. In addition, New York will use the grant to improve notification and warning capabilities and to assess various other pandemic preparedness capabilities statewide.

New York received two of the 12 grants awarded nationwide. A separate federal grant in the same amount ($929,414) was awarded to the New York City region.

These funds are provided through FEMA’s Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program, which assists state and local governments in developing local solutions in preparation for catastrophic incidents, including pandemic preparedness. The 2020 grants focus on planning, organization and training to build regional capabilities in essential areas including health, food, water and shelter.

Higgins has been an advocate for greater national planning and preparedness, recently introducing the U.S. Infectious Disease Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness Act.

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