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The Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grant program

Business Financing

The Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grant program

The Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grant program is intended to provide financial and technical assistance as well as national direction and guidance to enhance State, Territorial, Tribal, and local hazardous materials emergency planning and training. The HMEP Grant Program distributes fees collected from shippers and carriers of hazardous materials to emergency responders for hazmat training and to Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) for hazmat planning.

HMEP Information
HMEP Grants Program Fact Sheet

Cumulative final report results indicate, since the beginning of the program, HMEP grantees have accomplished 9,051 commodity flow and hazard analyses, developed or updated 52,135 plans, conducted 12,649 exercises, and helped an average of 1,695 LEPCs each year. In the latest reporting period HMEP grantees have accomplished 434 commodity flow and hazard analyses, developed or updated 1,152 plans, conducted 876 exercises, and helped 1,442 LEPCs.

  • Since the beginning of the program approximately $182 million has been awarded in HMEP grants.
  • Over 2,266,000 responders and others have been trained in part thus far with HMEP grant funds.
  • HMEP Curriculum guidelines are distributed to over 24,000 grantees, LEPCs/State Emergency Response Commissions and local fire departments on a request basis (telephone (301) 447-1009 for a copy). Grantees will use these guidelines to qualify courses for the list of courses mandated by Congress. Assistance is being provided to grantees in using the guidelines to qualify their courses.

The next edition of the HMEP Curriculum guidelines is under development, and will include: complete new responder training requirements fully consistent with the new NFPA 472; new hospital first receiver training requirements consistent with new JCAHO requirements; new incident command system (ICS) training guidelines consistent with and cross walking NIMS, FIRESCOPE and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, the Fire Service Incident Management System Consortium, OSHA, and NFPA requirements; and new Training Program Management guidelines providing guidance on curriculum design, on risk-based training planning needed for implementation of new NFPA 472 training, on delivery management and record keeping, and on emerging instructor certification and responder certification systems and procedures.

  • The HMEP grant program's role in providing hazmat planning and training support was commended by local responders during the Tamaroa, Illinois incident on February 9, 2003, the I-95 tanker accident which took 5 lives on January 13, 2004, and the San Antonio collision, derailment and chlorine spill on June 28, 2004, where 2 were killed and twenty injured.
  • The HMEP grant program is actively involved in the NFPA 472 change process through technical assistance sessions and national response team training committee meetings.
  • The International Association of Firefighters has trained, thus far, approximately 2,184 fire service instructors using HMEP grant funds. Graduate instructors train approximately 47 students each year, making hazmat training available to more firefighters at an increased number of locations.


Report on PHMSA HMEP Grants Program Contributions to DOT Safety Goals

Executive Summary

The Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) Grants Program provides technical and financial assistance to states, territories, and Indian tribes and their subdivisions to prepare and train for hazardous materials incidents. In the 2005 budget cycle, the Office of Management and Budget reviewed the program using the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART). The PART review found that HMEP-supported local activities may be insufficiently linked to the Department of Transportation's long-term hazmat incident goal, and that the program lacks independent evaluations to identify potential areas for improvement.

This report has been commissioned as a first step in determining the extent of the links between the HMEP Grants Program and the DOT hazardous materials program, and in identifying opportunities to strengthen these links. It presents findings from an assessment of the linkages between Departmental goals and funded local activities. The assessment draws on a "logic model" that was developed to illustrate the workings of the program, as well as a review of actual grantee activities based on documentation and interviews with a subset of 16 grantees. Information from the interviews has also been compiled to present a comparison of grantees' approaches to program management, including aspects of the sub-grant and prioritization process, recordkeeping, and statelocal communication. The final section of the report draws on these findings to present a set of recommendations on effective practices for improving the alignment between grantee activities and program goals.

Overall, this assessment found that nearly all of the HMEP-supported local activities reviewed were tied to the program and Departmental hazmat incident goal through an interconnected series of linkages, as outlined in the logic model. However, there were two exceptions, in Alaska and Texas, where unique local circumstances have given rise to slightly different approaches. Differences in grantees' administration of the program also suggest a number of effective management practices that should be considered by grantees where relevant:

  • A more formal prioritization process for local project applications;
  • An overarching, statewide planning and/or training strategy to help state goals "cascade" down to local activities;
  • The use of measures of effectiveness for Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs);
  • Frequent communication and outreach between state and local organizations to share information and expertise;
  • Greater local awareness of the program, with more participation and project applications from LEPCs;
  • More use of computerized record-keeping; and
  • Greater consistency in annual reports to the federal Office of Hazardous Materials Safety.

[NOTE: The attached document is in PDF format, you can download a free viewer.

HMEP Report to Congress


REPORTING REQUIREMENT. Section 119(k) of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Authorization Act of 1994,1 now codified at 49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq, subsection 5116(k), requires the Secretary of Transportation to submit a report to Congress covering the training grants program administered by the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) for fiscal years 1993-1996:

"...Such report shall identify the ultimate recipients of training grants and include a detailed accounting of all grant expenditures by grant recipients, the number of persons trained under the grant programs, and an evaluation of the efficacy of training programs carried out."

Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grant awards were first made in FY 1993. A report covering the first year's planning and training grants was submitted to Congress in March 1994. It addressed grants awarded to 47 States, the District of Columbia, 3 Territories and 7 Indian tribes. This report covers fiscal years 1993-1996 and references grants awarded to all 50 States, the District of Columbia, 5 Territories, and 23 Indian tribes.

GRANTS PROGRAM SCOPE. The Hazardous Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act of 1990, the first major reauthorization of the 1974 Hazardous Materials Transportation Act, established the HMEP grants program. It was intended that these grants: enhance implementation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA)2; encourage a comprehensive approach to planning and training for emergency response situations; and increase State, local, Territorial, and Indian tribal effectiveness in safely and efficiently handling hazardous materials (hazmat) incidents.

HMEP grant awards are made for both planning and training; approximately 40 percent of funds are for planning and 60 percent for training. All grants go initially to the "grantee," i.e., one of the approximately eighty States, Territories, or Indian tribes who receive the funds. As provided by law, at least 75 percent of planning grant money must be passed through to Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs), and 75 percent of training funds must benefit local firefighter, police, or other public responder groups. During the four fiscal years 1993-1996, approximately $26 million in total grant funds were awarded, with approximately $10 million for planning and approximately $16 million for training.

The HMEP grant program intentionally provides grantees considerable flexibility in choosing eligible funding activities, and in reporting their planning, training, and grant use data. This flexibility helps grantees focus on planning and training activities best suited to their needs, while minimizing resources spent on reporting. Since this successful allocation environment can result in non-comparable statistics among grantees, RSPA has in some cases extrapolated from reported data to estimate comparable statistics for all grantees.

The HMEP grant funds are appropriated by Congress, but they are offset through registration fees paid to the Department of Transportation (DOT) by shippers and carriers of certain hazardous materials. In FY 1996, approximately 26,000 shippers and carriers submitted a $250 registration fee to support the program.

KEY PROGRAM PROVISIONS. Government Agency Coordination--Federal Level. A key element of the HMEP grants program is coordination with Federal partners with interests in emergency preparedness. Initially conducted through the HMEP Interagency Coordination Group (ICG), coordination is now accomplished through the National Response Team (NRT) Training/Curriculum Subcommittee. The Subcommittee, chaired by DOT, develops and updates the training curriculum used by grantees. Curriculum Guidelines and the list of assessed courses encourage grantees to draw upon nationally recognized manuals and information sources for their planning and training instruction.

DOT and its interagency partners also developed allocation formulas for awarding planning and training grants to States, Territories, and Indian tribes. The formulas contain both fixed and variable components. Three percent (3%) of all available funds are allocated to Indian tribes. To ensure minimum levels of funding even for grantees with small populations, a base amount (adjusted annually for registration fee collections) is distributed to each State and Territory. Remaining funds are allocated on the basis of risk-related factors that include population, highway miles, hazmat truck miles, and hazmat fixed facilities within a grantee's jurisdiction.

Government Agency Coordination--State and Local Level. At the State and local level, an important element of planning and training activities involves deciding the extent to which emergency response should be undertaken as a regional effort. If, for example, LEPCs choose to plan, train, and prepare emergency response on a coordinated regional basis, that decision shapes preparedness planning and training strategies. The HMEP program encourages grantees to determine the regional response strategies best suited to their purposes.

Technical Assistance. The HMEP program provides important technical assistance to grantees and final grant recipients. For example, in the planning area, emergency preparedness includes properly assessing risks posed by the presence of hazardous materials, and the HMEP program provides guidance to grant recipients on how to conduct hazmat flow studies. In the training area, a comprehensive and updated course curriculum helps grantees design and select courses that maximize training effectiveness. Finally, various training, response, and technical manuals are made available to responders and LEPC members. DOT's Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG), in particular, is designed for responder use in actual incidents.

[NOTE: Figure 1: RESPONDERS TRAINED can be viewed on page  5 of the PDF to the right.]

Target Audience. Approximately 3.2 million firefighters, police, and other responders comprise the nation's emergency response community training need. The majority of these individuals are volunteers. Each year, the HMEP grants program helps train an estimated 120,000-130,000 responders, with a total of approximately 456,000 having received training during fiscal years 1993-1995. Figures for 1996 and 1997 are also expected to show an estimated 120,000 - 130,000 responders trained in each of those years. Summary Figure 1 shows major categories of personnel trained.3 Given turnover in the response community, plus the need to periodically retrain current members, efforts to expand responder coverage continue.

PROMISING SAFETY RESULTS. The numbers of prepared communities and trained response officials are two indications of HMEP grants program effectiveness. Another critical measure is how well local emergency response capability has actually improved. It is difficult to separate the results of Federally funded programs from those attributable to a community's overall planning, training, and financial efforts. Still, it is possible to identify situations where benefits such as reduced response time, injuries, or evacuation costs appear strongly related to the receipt and use of Federal grants. Various examples involving incidents from different parts of the country and different kinds of hazardous materials can be cited. One was a 1996 train derailment in Weyauwega, Wisconsin--a potentially disastrous incident in a community of 1,700 people who were forced to endure extended evacuation and delay costs but suffered no deaths or injuries. A bad situation was deftly managed and prevented from becoming worse. The report covers this and other examples.

CONTINUING DOT SUPPORT. Given the reach and success of the program to date and the unsatisfied hazmat emergency responder training need of over 3 million (Appendix F), the Department of Transportation has sought reauthorization to support the HMEP grants program. The Department continues to explore funding options that may narrow the gap between hazardous materials emergency preparedness needs and resources available at the Federal level.

1 The Hazardous Materials Transportation Authorization Act of 1994 (Pub. L. 103-311, August 26, 1994) which reauthorized and amended in part the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1974.

2 EPCRA is intended to ensure that communities throughout the U.S. are informed of chemical hazards facing them. (42 U.S.C. 11001 et seq.) EPCRA led to the formation of State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) and more numerous Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs). HMEP grant monies for planning are channeled to the governor-appointed grantee (usually the State's emergency management agency or the SERC itself) and through to the various LEPCs.

3 The 456,000 figure covers FY 93-95, including 200,000 responders trained in FY 93 due to the availability of two years' funding in that single year. Annual figures for the various training categories, by State, Territory and Indian tribe appear in Appendix C of this report.


Current & Historical Grants


2008 Grants (Press Release 08-07)

OT Grants $372,000 to American Indian Tribes to Improve Hazardous Materials Planning and Training

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters today announced grants to 12 American Indian tribes totaling more than $372,000 for planning and training to improve tribal response capabilities to hazardous materials transportation incidents.

The Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grants help prepare hazmat first responders to react to accidents involving hazardous materials on tribal lands that are often outside the emergency response jurisdiction of local cities, counties or states, Secretary Peters said.

“We are working to help American Indian communities prepare to respond adequately to a hazardous materials emergency,” Secretary Peters said.

Last year, the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin was able to train 112 first responders in hazardous materials awareness, operations, incident command and annual refresher training. Training included a hazardous materials exercise so that first responders could practice responses and procedures.

The grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are funded by user fees paid by shippers and carriers of certain hazardous materials.

Since 1993, over 2 million emergency responders and others have received training assistance nationwide using HMEP grants. Assistance was also given in fiscal year 2006 to approximately 1,700 local emergency planning committees in preparing and exercising hazardous materials emergency response plans and in conducting commodity flow studies that identify transportation hazards.

The grants to American Indian tribes are part of $12.8 million in HMEP funding provided this year to train emergency responders across the country.

A list of the fiscal year 2007 grant amounts to American Indian tribes follows:

Native American Tribes Amount  
Inter Tribal Council of Arizona $160,000  
Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, AZ $ 19,626  
Ely Shoshone Tribe, NV $ 19,626  
Pueblo of Laguna Tribe, NM $ 19,626  
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, NV $ 19,626  
Reno Sparks Indian Colony, NV $ 19,626  
Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, NY $ 19,626  
The Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, MT $ 19,626  
Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California $ 19,626  
Pueblo of Isleta Tribe, NM $ 19,626  
Pueblo of Acoma Tribe, NM $ 19,625  
Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin $ 16,556  
  $372,815   TOTAL



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