Communications systems used to handle emergencies on the island as well as several Puerto Rico Police buildings will benefit from more than $1.6 million in grants awarded under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance program, the agency announced.
The funds will help those in uniform to continue providing vital safety services to communities, it added.
Emergency communication systems in Guayanilla, Isabela, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Mayaguez and Yauco will be strengthened more than $906,000 in grants. The communications network tower at the Emergency Management Center in Guayanilla, for example, will be replaced with nearly $330,000 of these funds, among other repairs.
Likewise, about $54,000 will be used to repair various antennas, communications equipment and the weather station in Jayuya.
“Government agencies that ensure the safety of citizens are necessary in the island’s recovery. These funds for the Puerto Rico Police and municipalities to strengthen their communication systems are essential to continue protecting lives and safeguarding property,” said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alex Amparo.
Among the obligations this week is more than $392,000 for the Puerto Rico Public Building Authority for improvements to police offices in the western area.
Facilities in Aguadilla, Arecibo, Mayagüez and Ponce will benefit from this allocation. Similarly, another $348,000 was approved for the stations in the Mayagüez region which include Añasco, Cabo Rojo, Hormigueros, Las Marías, Maricao and Mayagüez.
The center of the island will also benefit with an obligation of more than $8,000 for the Orocovis police station. Many of these projects include funds to minimize the effects of natural disasters in the future.
“Collaboration between state and federal agencies is fundamental in order to carry out projects that contribute to the common good,” said Puerto Rico Police Commissioner Henry Escalera-Rivera.
“These funds represent a major step in meeting our goals and preparing our Bureau for future emergencies. We remain focused on strengthening the communications system, as well as the other programs that will benefit and help ensure the safety of the people of Puerto Rico,” he said.
In an effort to build resilient structures, part of the federal investment focuses on mitigating the effects of future disasters. At the police station in Mayagüez, for example, fences will be reinforced in order to better withstand the effects of wind and debris.
The station in Orocovis, on the other hand, will consider the use of steel instead of aluminum on the roof as well as improvements to the drainage system.
“The Police Bureau is a fundamental part of the first line of defense when it comes to public security and during emergencies. These obligations for their recovery projects will allow them to improve in their facilities to provide a service that ultimately benefits the entire community,” said the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, or COR3, Executive Director Ottmar Chávez.