Tips for Securing Grants to Purchase Emergency Response Kits (ERKs)

By OPW | Nov 05, 2019

To everyone’s relief, the number of railway accidents or non-accidental release (NAR) incidents that result in catastrophic hazardous-material leaks or spills has declined steadily over the last decade. This progress, however, doesn’t mean that that the railroads themselves, or the emergency-service providers and first responders who operate in areas populated by heavy or consistent rail traffic, should let their guard down.

In fact, they should continue to consider every option when it comes to preventing or minimizing the detrimental effects of a hazmat-release incidents. In many cases, this means purchasing an Emergency Response Kit (ERK). To that end, Midland Manufacturing, Skokie, IL, offers the B-240/B-243 Emergency Response Kit. These ERKs are marketed to fire departments, emergency-response contractors, railway dangerous goods officers and all organizations that employ first responders who are responsible for responding to railroad accidents or NARs.

For too many emergency-service providers, though, wanting and actually acquiring an ERK are two entirely different things. Budgetary constraints can make it difficult to secure the ERK equipment and training that are necessary to optimize the response to hazmat-release incidents.

Thankfully, a number of federal programs have been put into place to offer millions of dollars in available grant funding. Securing one of these grants can help offset the cost of the specialized equipment and the training that is needed to successfully and safely mitigate the serious effects of a hazmat spill. Among them are:

  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS): DHS has two ways that emergency-service providers can secure grant funds:
    • DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate works closely with first responders in an effort to improve their safety and effectiveness. DHS maintains a Grant Resources website that lists resources where first responders can obtain grants for a wide range of needs.
    • The Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) offers preparedness grants that can play a role in the department’s implementation of the National Preparedness System, which aims to achieve a secure and resilient nation.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): Since 2001, FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program has been designed to meet the firefighting and emergency-response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical-service organizations.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT): Administered by the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grant program was established in 1990 to aid emergency-response organizations that wish to “develop, improve and carry out emergency plans.” The program allows grantees the flexibility to implement training and planning programs that address the differing needs of each operation based on a hazard analysis.
  • Most individual states offer some fashion of grant program that has been designed to help emergency-service personnel and organizations improve their first-response capabilities.

A non-governmental resource for grant funding is the website Its stated mission is to provide fire departments and their first responders with a comprehensive resource for grant information and assistance.

For more information on Midland Manufacturing, Inc, and its complete portfolio of rail tank car products, please visit