The St. Louis Area Regional Response System (“STARRS”) is a regional organization developed to coordinate planning and response for large-scale critical incidents in the bi-state metropolitan region.
STARRS was formed as a result of the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Grant Program for Homeland Security for Fiscal Years 2003 and 2004. When the UASI program was announced in June 2003, the St. Louis Region Medical Response System (SLMMRS) was operating as a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) Missouri Corporation authorized to conduct affairs in Illinois. Incorporated in 2002, SLMMRS was built upon efforts by volunteers from the medical community, EMS, fire, police, public health and government over several years to coordinate multi-disciplinary, multi-jurisdictional responses to large scale medical emergencies in the greater St. Louis Metropolitan region.
In February, 2003 SLMMRS entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the East-West Gateway Council of Governments (“EWG”) whereby EWG recognized SLMMRS as the metropolitan agency for planning and implementation of emergency medical response in the bi-state metropolitan region. In 2003, after the UASI Grant Program directed a regional approach to Homeland Security funding, SLMMRS adopted the name STARRS to encompass a growing role in regional planning.
STARRS is cooperating with the governments of St. Charles, Franklin Jefferson and St. Louis Counties and the City of St. Louis in Missouri and the governments of St. Clair, Madison and Monroe Counties in Illinois as well as with the States of Missouri and Illinois and the United States Department of Homeland Security. STARRS has a formal relationship with the governmental agencies through the MOU with EWG which also serves as its fiscal agent.
STARRS is also managing two grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This funding is intended to help area hospitals prepare for mass casualty incidents through improved communication in the health care community, sharing of resources and additional training and exercises.
STARRS initially formed a Safety and Security Council, which now is called the Advisory Council, to implement the very important work of planning and preparing for emergency response throughout the region. This committee was composed of representatives across the region from police and fire departments, EMS, schools, transportation, utility companies, LEPC’s, the private sector, public health, hospitals, and EMA. Its role is to bring together the experience and expertise of all of the various disciplines to develop plans for the entire region.