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Bath County receives $2M federal grant to improve emergency medical care

Rebecca Barnabi
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Bath County has been awarded a $2 million U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant to improve coordination of emergency medical care, strengthen preparedness and resilience, and improve emergency communications interoperability.

The funding is for the Northern Alleghany Highlands Radio Project, which serves Bath and Highland counties.

“Virginians are safer when our first responders can communicate and coordinate,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin said. “This grant helps our underserved localities improve public safety and enables rural communities to bolster safety measures through shared best practices and lessons learned. The Northern Alleghany Highlands Radio Project exemplifies the spirit of service in Virginia, and I’m pleased that these resources will further our commitment to safety across the Commonwealth.”

The Rural Emergency Medical Communications Demonstration Project (REMDCP) grant’s priority is to examine communications barriers and identify solutions that enhance existing emergency communications infrastructure to improve the delivery of rural medical care and address gaps in the implementation of the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP).

“The ability for emergency responders to connect, communicate and collaborate is crucial,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Terrance Cole. “Helping rural localities keep up with increasingly complex threats and disasters keeps us all safer.”

Bath County Administrator Michael Bender said the right thing to do is to work together through a regional approach.

“By improving communications for first responders, we will improve patient care. We want to lead the way, showing even the smallest communities can empower the first responders who protect us all, and the REMCDP grant helps us do just that,” Bender said.

Terry Hall, Chair of Virginia’s Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee, said that other public safety agencies in the United States will have an opportunity to learn from the project.

“I am excited and honored to work with Bath, Highland and CISA to show that, with a little help, even smaller jurisdictions can choose interoperability up front,” said Statewide Interoperability Coordinator Gabe Elias.

Bath County is one of only three jurisdictions nationwide to receive REMCDP grant funding this fiscal year.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.