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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The First Responder Network and Next- Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress

The First Responder Network and Next- Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress

Date: May 23, 2012
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Description: Since September 11, 2001, when communications failures contributed to the tragedies of the day, Congress has passed several laws intended to create a nationwide emergency communications capability. Yet the United States has continued to strive for a solution that assures seamless communications among first responders and emergency personnel at the scene of a major disaster. To address this problem, Congress included provisions in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96) for planning, building, and managing a new, nationwide, broadband network for public safety communications, and assigned additional spectrum to accommodate the new network.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program

Date: February 14, 2012
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Description: In response to concerns over the adequacy of firefighter staffing, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act—popularly called the “SAFER Act”—was enacted by the 108th Congress as Section 1057 of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 108-136). The SAFER Act authorizes grants to career, volunteer, and combination local fire departments for the purpose of increasing the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry-minimum standards and attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. Also authorized are grants to volunteer fire departments for recruitment and retention of volunteers. With the economic turndown adversely affecting budgets of local governments, concerns have arisen that modifications to the SAFER statute may be necessary to enable fire departments to more effectively participate in the program.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program

Date: January 3, 2012
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Description: In response to concerns over the adequacy of firefighter staffing, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act—popularly called the “SAFER Act”—was enacted by the 108th Congress as Section 1057 of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 108-136). The SAFER Act authorizes grants to career, volunteer, and combination local fire departments for the purpose of increasing the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry-minimum standards and attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. Concern over local fire departments' budgetary problems has framed debate over the SAFER reauthorization, which is included in S. 550/H.R. 2269, the Fire Grants Authorization Act of 2011. Previously in the 111th Congress, reauthorization legislation for SAFER was passed by the House, but was not passed by the Senate. As part of the reauthorization debate, Congress may consider whether some SAFER rules and restrictions governing the hiring grants should be eliminated or altered in order to make it economically feasible for more fire departments to participate in the program.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program

Date: February 14, 2012
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Description: In response to concerns over the adequacy of firefighter staffing, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act—popularly called the “SAFER Act”—was enacted by the 108th Congress as Section 1057 of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 108-136). The SAFER Act authorizes grants to career, volunteer, and combination local fire departments for the purpose of increasing the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry-minimum standards and attain 24-hour staffing to provide adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. Also authorized are grants to volunteer fire departments for recruitment and retention of volunteers. With the economic turndown adversely affecting budgets of local governments, concerns have arisen that modifications to the SAFER statute may be necessary to enable fire departments to more effectively participate in the program.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
United States Fire Administration: An Overview

United States Fire Administration: An Overview

Date: January 3, 2012
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Description: The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA)—which includes the National Fire Academy (NFA)—is currently housed within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The objective of the USFA is to significantly reduce the nation's loss of life from fire, while also achieving a reduction in property loss and non-fatal injury due to fire. The United States Fire Administration Reauthorization Act of 2008 was signed into law on October 8, 2008. As is the case with many federal programs, concerns in the 112th Congress over the federal budget deficit could impact budget levels for the USFA. Debate over the USFA budget has focused on whether the USFA is receiving an appropriate level of funding to accomplish its mission, given that appropriations for USFA have consistently been well below the agency's authorized level. An ongoing issue is the viability and status of the USFA and National Fire Academy within the Department of Homeland Security.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
United States Fire Administration: An Overview

United States Fire Administration: An Overview

Date: June 1, 2012
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Description: The United States Fire Administration (USFA)—which includes the National Fire Academy (NFA)—is currently housed within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The objective of the USFA is to significantly reduce the nation's loss of life from fire, while also achieving a reduction in property loss and non-fatal injury due to fire. As is the case with many federal programs, concerns in the 112th Congress over the federal budget deficit could impact budget levels for the USFA. Debate over the USFA budget has focused on whether the USFA is receiving an appropriate level of funding to accomplish its mission, given that appropriations for USFA have consistently been well below the agency's authorized level. An ongoing issue is the viability and status of the USFA and National Fire Academy within the Department of Homeland Security.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Wildfire Fuels and Fuel Reduction

Wildfire Fuels and Fuel Reduction

Date: September 16, 2009
Creator: Gorte, Ross W.
Description: This report examines wildfire biomass fuels. It begins with a discussion of fuel characteristics and their relation to wildfire intensity and spread. This is followed with a description of actions proposed to reduce biomass fuel levels, their effectiveness for protecting property and resources from wildfires, and their impacts on other resource values. It concludes with an examination of the federal authorities for fuel reduction activities on federal and non-federal lands, together with data on the funding provided under each of these authorities.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Wildfire Protection in the Wildland-Urban Interface

Wildfire Protection in the Wildland-Urban Interface

Date: January 23, 2012
Creator: Gorte, Ross W. & Bracmort, Kelsi
Description: Congress continues to face questions about forestry practices, funding levels, and the federal role in wildfire protection. Recent fire seasons have been, by most standards, among the worst in the past half century. This report looks at factors contributing to wildfires as well as active and preventative treatments for wildfires.
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Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding

Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding

Date: June 3, 2011
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Description: This report discusses the firefighting activities that are traditionally the responsibility of states and local communities. The report also talks about the funding for firefighters, which is provided mostly by state and local governments. However, during the 106th Congress, many in the fire community asserted that local fire departments require and deserve greater support from the federal government.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Projects: Authorization and Appropriations

Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Projects: Authorization and Appropriations

Date: May 1, 2008
Creator: Carter, Nicole T. & Hughes, H. S.
Description: This report explains how the congressional authorization and appropriations process overlays the Corps' project development process. Special attention is given to initiating a water resources study, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) process, civil works appropriations, and emergency response activities.
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Federal Assistance for Wildfire Response and Recovery

Federal Assistance for Wildfire Response and Recovery

Date: June 6, 2011
Creator: Gorte, Ross W.
Description: This report briefly discusses the options for federal support and assistance for areas affected by wildfire disaster including the period during wildfires, in the aftermath, and later for preventing a recurrence.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA): A Summary

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA): A Summary

Date: March 19, 2008
Creator: Schierow, Linda-Jo
Description: This report summarizes the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to- Know Act (EPCRA) and the major regulatory programs that mandate reporting by industrial facilities of releases of hazardous chemicals to the environment, as well as local planning to respond in the event of significant, accidental releases.
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Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Legislation for Disaster Assistance: Summary Data

Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Legislation for Disaster Assistance: Summary Data

Date: August 14, 2008
Creator: Murray, Justin & Lindsay, Bruce R.
Description: This report provides summary information on emergency supplemental appropriations enacted after major disasters since 1989. The report discusses the most recent and costly disasters occurred in the summer of 2005 when Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma made landfall in Gulf Coast states.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
FEMA Disaster Housing and Hurricane Katrina: Overview, Analysis, and Congressional Issues

FEMA Disaster Housing and Hurricane Katrina: Overview, Analysis, and Congressional Issues

Date: August 8, 2008
Creator: McCarthy, Francis X.
Description: This report discusses the issues with the housing policies of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), particularly as they relate to the Post-Katrina Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-295) and the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Plan (P.L. 93-288). It includes an overview of the Stafford Act sections 403 and 408 as well as a breakdown of issues for Congress and possible Congressional approaches to address the policies.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
FEMA's Community Disaster Loan Program: History, Analysis, and Issues for Congress

FEMA's Community Disaster Loan Program: History, Analysis, and Issues for Congress

Date: July 3, 2012
Creator: Brown, Jared T.
Description: This report compares and analyzes three different categories of loans issued in different time periods in the program's history: "traditional" loans issued between 1974 and 2005, in 2007, and between 2009 and 2011 (TCDLs); "special" (SCDLs) loans issued in 2005-2006 following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; and loans issued under unique provisions in 2008 (2008 CDLs).
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Funding Emergency Communications: Technology and Policy Considerations

Funding Emergency Communications: Technology and Policy Considerations

Date: October 4, 2011
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Description: This report identifies areas where changes in existing policies and practices may facilitate achievement of the important goals for emergency communications that Congress and others have identified. Why these goals have become important, and recent planning efforts to achieve these goals, is discussed first. Next, possible barriers to achieving these goals are identified and described. The conclusion revisits key options presently under consideration by Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Funding Emergency Communications: Technology and Policy Considerations

Funding Emergency Communications: Technology and Policy Considerations

Date: June 23, 2011
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Description: This report covers U.S. efforts to find a solution that assures seamless communications among first responders and emergency personnel at the scene of a major disaster. Legislation in the 112th Congress includes the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act, the Broadband for Public Safety Act of 2011, the Broadband for First Responders Act, and the Strengthening Public-safety and Enhancing Communications Through Reform, Utilization, and Modernization (SPECTRUM) Act.
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Flood Risk Management and Levees: A Federal Primer

Flood Risk Management and Levees: A Federal Primer

Date: June 20, 2008
Creator: Cody, Betsy A. & Carter, Nicole T.
Description: This report provides a primer on responsibilities for flood management, describes the role of federal agencies, and discusses flood issues before the 110th Congress. The report also discusses the legislative response to Hurricane Katrina.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
National Flood Insurance Program: Background, Challenges, and Financial Status

National Flood Insurance Program: Background, Challenges, and Financial Status

Date: June 12, 2012
Creator: King, Rawle O.
Description: In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to address the increasing costs of taxpayer-funded disaster relief for flood victims and the increasing amount of damage caused by floods. This report provides an analysis of the NFIP and its financial status; summarizes the major challenges facing the program, including issues affecting its long-term financial solvency; presents some alternative approaches for managing and financing the flood losses; and describes pending legislation on this issue.
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Commercial Fishery Disaster Assistance

Commercial Fishery Disaster Assistance

Date: May 2, 2008
Creator: Upton, Harold F.
Description: This report discusses disaster relief for commercial fishery, which be provided by the federal government to assist the fishing industry when it is affected by a commercial fishery failure.
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The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings

Date: August 25, 2008
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Description: This report gives an overview of issues and legislation relating to the Emergency Alert System (EAS). It includes a discussion of the EAS administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radios, all-hazard warning technology, proposals and programs, the executive order regarding the public alert and warning system and legislation from the 109th and 110th Congresses.
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Congressional Primer on Major Disasters and Emergencies

Congressional Primer on Major Disasters and Emergencies

Date: August 31, 2011
Creator: McCarthy, Francis X. & Brown, Jared T.
Description: This report covers the role of the government in disaster management. While the disaster response and recovery process is fundamentally a relationship between the federal government and the requesting state government, there are roles for congressional offices to play in providing information to the federal/state response and recovery teams in their respective states and districts. Congressional offices also serve as a valuable source of accurate and timely information to their constituents.
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Community Development Block Grant Funds in Disaster Relief and Recovery

Community Development Block Grant Funds in Disaster Relief and Recovery

Date: September 1, 2010
Creator: Boyd, Eugene
Description: This report discusses how Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs are funded by Congress and what they have been used for in recent years: recovery efforts following terrorist attacks, riots, and natural disasters. The 111th Congress has approved $100 million in CDBG funds to help states and communities undertake disaster recovery activities in presidentially declared disaster areas affected by severe storms and flooding during the period from March 2010 through May 2010. The act limited distribution of these funds to states where the entire state was declared a disaster area (Rhode Island) and to states where at least 20 counties within the state were declared disaster areas (Tennessee, Kentucky, and Nebraska).
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Earthquakes: Risk, Detection, Warning, and Research

Earthquakes: Risk, Detection, Warning, and Research

Date: September 2, 2011
Creator: Folger, Peter
Description: This report discusses the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), a program under which the federal government supports efforts to assess and monitor earthquake hazards and risk in the United States. This report also discusses earthquake hazards and risk in the United States; federal programs that support earthquake monitoring; the U.S. capability to detect earthquakes and issue notifications and warnings; and federally supported research to improve the fundamental scientific understanding of earthquakes with a goal of reducing U.S. vulnerability.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department