CFO Sink Announces Nearly $700,000 in Homeland Security Funds Awarded to State Bomb Team, Laboratory
Tara Klimek or Nina Banister
TALLAHASSEE—Alex Sink, the chief financial officer of Florida and state fire marshal, announced today that the Division of State Fire Marshal's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit and Forensic Laboratory have been awarded nearly $700,000 in homeland security funds to buy equipment to protect Florida communities.
"We can never let our guard down when it comes to being prepared for a potential disaster, whether natural or manmade," Sink said. "We are committed to doing all we can to make sure we are trained, equipped and ready, and I thank the Department of Homeland Security for supporting us in that."
The EOD unit, or bomb team, is part of the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, and its members are trained to safely handle, transport, dispose of and investigate explosive or incendiary incidents. The members also educate hundreds of state, local and civilian personnel every year. The bomb team is currently ranked number 12 in the nation for the number of calls responded to for all bomb teams and number two in the nation for state government bomb teams. The grant money will be used to buy a robot, bomb suits and other equipment for the bomb team as well as equipment for the division's Bureau of Forensic Fire and Explosives Analysis, which operates the state laboratory that supports fire and arson investigations.
The State Fire Marshal's Office has helped local fire departments get more than $32 million in homeland security funds for equipment and training. The funds have helped local agencies establish, train and equip 50 technical rescue teams, seven urban search and rescue teams and to better equip and train 28 existing regional hazardous materials teams.
Homeland security funds also paid for the placement of a permanent urban search and rescue training center at the Florida State Fire College that is the only "post-blast" collapse simulator providing fire and smoke conditions in the United States.