The 16 anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks began the week while Washington, DC will end the week with hope.

“We remember the nearly 3,000 innocent people lost in the heinous act – including 18 from my home of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Additionally, we honor the more than 400 first responders who perished, and the countless more whose long-term health was impacted because of their courageous action,” Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick said on the House floor.

On Thursday, the Joint Counterterrorism Awareness Workshop Series (JCTAWS) Act of 2017 passed the House of Representatives. Congressman Fitzpatrick authored the Bill which focuses on federal, state, and local first responders preparedness for terrorist attacks. The JCTAWS is a nationwide initiative with support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The series of workshops will band together a wide range of first responders including law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, and public health officials from the private sector and nongovernmental organizations.

Since 2011 more than 30 cities have hosted seminars to test their current plans, policies, and procedures to identify gaps and a possible better system in case of attacks. The workshops under the JCTAWS will create a vital series for State and local jurisdictions to prepare for the worst.

“Since 9/11, we’ve seen the devastating impact of coordinated terrorist attacks on civilian targets,” Fitzpatrick stated. “In these cases, first responders including local police, fire, and emergency medical personnel are the main response force.”

The city hosting each workshop will develop a summary report with strategy options.

“It is crucial these men and women have the training and tools to operate in these planned attacks.”

Fitzpatrick specifically thanked Representative Dan Donovan (R-NY), Chair of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Member of the House Armed Services Committee, for their support.

The JCTAWS is Fitzpatrick’s second Bill to pass the House.