As terrorist and natural incidents continue to threaten the safety and quality of life of Americans and as federal funding to combat these activities have become more risk oriented, Congress, in 2004 authorized the development of a Rural Domestic Preparedness Training Center to develop and deliver all-hazards preparedness training to rural communities across the Nation. Eastern Kentucky University was awarded a competitive grant offered by the Department of Homeland Security to establish this training center. In 2005, legislation authorized the creation of a Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium to be developed among a group of academic institutions. Again, after a competitive bid, EKU was awarded a grant to establish this Consortium and leveraged the development of the Training Center as one working arm of the Consortium.
Throughout 2005, the newly created RDPC, managed by EKU as the executive agent, identified four additional universities to become charter academic partners in the Consortium based upon their unique niche capabilities in developing and delivering homeland security preparedness training to rural communities. These academic partners include East Tennessee State University, Iowa Central Community College, NorthWest Arkansas Community College, The University of Findlay and North Carolina Central University.
The Consortium and its academic partners are led by Eastern Kentucky University’s Justice & Safety Center (JSC).
“The Consortium will develop and deliver training tailored for emergency responders in rural communities who face unique challenges in meeting their homeland security responsibilities,” said Tom Lindquist, Director of the Consortium.
All training delivered by the RDPC is certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is offered tuition-free for a broad scope of stakeholders, including the traditional emergency response disciplines, other emergency support functions as defined by the National Response Plan, as well as critical infrastructure owners and operators.
In announcing the formation of the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium, Dr. Allen Ault, Dean of the College of Justice & Safety said the RDPC is another of the widely recognized programs in EKU’s College of Justice & Safety.
“Our college has a long history of commitment to the rural emergency responder community,” said Dr. Ault. “The Justice & Safety Center staff of professionals is nationally and internationally known for their teaching, research and innovative programs and will provide an important resource for the rural responder.”
“By creating the Consortium, national policymakers are recognizing the need to train our small and rural communities who have unique issues and limited access to training” said Dr. Pam Collins, Director of JSC