A Portland Fire Department Ladder Truck is parked at the old North School building near the corner of Congress and India streets, Aug. 22, 2012. Credit: Seth Koenig

The Maine Department of Education says it has received a five-year grant of nearly $3 million from the federal government to help with emergency management plans.

The money is from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. The state education department says it will go toward a project called “Maine Grant for School Emergency Management” that is geared at providing training and technical assistance to schools to help develop emergency operation plans.

The state says the initiative is based on the concept that having an emergency plan in place will help schools and communities respond to critical incidents. It says the effort is especially directed at schools that are identified as high need in rural areas.