The federal government has provided millions of dollars to state and local governments to get them prepared to respond to the next 9/11.
In St. Louis and other regions across the country, the funds allowed fire departments to purchase equipment for all types of rescues and train their people to use the equipment. The requirements of the federal grants forced agencies to work together.
But federal funding dropped by more than 50 percent between fiscal years 2010 and 2011, and no one is sure how much money will be available for fiscal year 2012. And that’s raising some concerns about the sustainability of the region’s plan to respond to a mass disaster.