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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces: Facts and Issues
This report discusses Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Forces, which have been certified, trained, and funded by the federal government. The task forces represent a partnership involving federal, local government, and private sector experts. Most recently, USAR teams received considerable publicity, and reportedly achieved life-saving results, in their mission to Haiti after the earthquakes of early 2010. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc503553/
Managing Disaster Debris: Overview of Regulatory Requirements, Agency Roles, and Selected Challenges
This report addresses debris resulting from a "major disaster" or "emergency" declared by the President. First, it discusses the types of debris commonly generated during and after a disaster and selected factors that can make "debris removal"2 such a costly, complex operation. Second, it discusses the roles of federal, state, and local agencies after a disaster has been declared--with regard to both funding debris removal and the actual physical process of removal. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc503474/
FEMA's Disaster Declaration Process: A Primer
This report discusses the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (referred to as the Stafford Act - 42 U.S.C. 5721 et seq.), which authorizes the President to issue "major disaster" or "emergency" declarations before or after catastrophes occur. It includes a description of the declaration process, Presidential and gubernatorial discretion, preliminary damage assessments, and factors for public or individual assistance in major disaster declarations, with concluding observations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc503386/
The Military Commissions Act of 2009: Overview and Legal Issues
This report provides an analysis of the National Flood Insurance Program (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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501710/
Earthquakes: Risk, Detection, Warning, and Research
This report 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501491/
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
This report discusses the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, also known as fire grants of the FIRE Act grant program, which provides federal grants directly to local fire departments and unaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to help address a variety of equipment, training, and other firefighter-related and EMS needs. This report also discusses the possible reauthorization of AFG and the related Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Firefighters (SAFER) program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501613/
Emergency Communications: Broadband and the Future of 911
This report discusses the current 911 infrastructure and possible options for modernizing the system to Next Generation 911 technology (NG9-1-1). It includes information about relevant legislation and policy, funding and grants, ways to create a base for change, the potential role of the Department of Homeland Security, and Congressional policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc503582/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
This report has two sections. The first provides an overview of the current USDA disaster assistance programs: federal crop insurance, NAP payments, emergency disaster loans, the new Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), and four other smaller disaster programs authorized in the 2008 farm bill. The second section reviews the recent history of emergency supplemental farm disaster assistance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501569/
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
This report discusses the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, also known as fire grants of the FIRE Act grant program, which provides federal grants directly to local fire departments and unaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to help address a variety of equipment, training, and other firefighter-related and EMS needs. This report also discusses the possible reauthorization of AFG and the related Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Firefighters (SAFER) program. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501787/
Federal Evacuation Policy: Issues for Congress
This report discusses federal evacuation policy and analyzes potential lessons learned from the evacuations of individuals in response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005. It also highlights several issue areas that might arise concerning potential lawmaking and oversight on evacuation policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501931/
Department of Homeland Security Assistance to States and Localities: A Summary and Issues for the 111th Congress
This report summarizes several emergency management and homeland security programs, and identifies and analyzes potential issues for the 111th Congress. These issues include the purpose and number of assistance programs; the evaluation of the use of grant funding; the determination of eligible grant recipients; the programs' funding amounts; and the programs; funding distribution methodologies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501913/
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
This report discusses Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Act, which was enacted by the 108th Congress as Section 1057 of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 108-136). It includes background of the SAFER Act, appropriations from FY2010-FY2011, reauthorization of the program in the House and Senate, and information about program implementation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463296/
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
The Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program provides income support to individuals who become unemployed as a direct result of a major disaster and who are not eligible for regular Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits. DUA is funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) through each state's UC agency. This report contains information on how to ascertain if an individual is eligible for DUA benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501521/
Haiti Earthquake: Crisis and Response
The largest earthquake ever recorded in Haiti devastated parts of the country, including the capital, on January 12, 2010. This report discusses the disaster and various responses, ranging from the Haitian government's initial response to foreign humanitarian and financial aid. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501690/
Potential Stafford Act Declarations for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, P.L. 93-288, which presents several options, and could provide a number of programs, to address the Gulf Coast oil spill. The Stafford Act authorizes the President to issue "major disaster" or "emergency" declarations before or after catastrophes occur. Emergency declarations trigger aid that protects property, public health, and safety and lessens or averts the threat of an incident becoming a catastrophic event. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501836/
Disaster Relief Funding and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations
This report describes the various components of the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), including (1) what authorities have shaped it over the years; (2) how FEMA determines the amount of the appropriation requested to Congress (pertaining to the DRF); and (3) how emergency supplemental appropriations are requested. In addition to the DRF, information is provided on funds appropriated in supplemental appropriations legislation to agencies other than the Department of Homeland Security. Aspects of debate concerning how disaster relief is budgeted are also highlighted and examined, and alternative budgetary options are summarized. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501600/
Comparison of the Current World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and the World Trade Center Health Program Proposed by Title I of H.R. 847
This report compares the current federally supported medical screening and treatment program offered to various persons affected by the terrorist attack on New York City on September 11, 2001, with the federal program proposed to be established by Title I of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, as amended and passed by the House of Representatives. The World Trade Center (WTC) Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program (MMTP) and the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) are the specific programs compared in this report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc501764/
The Americans with Disabilities Act and Emergency Preparedness and Response
This report discusses the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which provides broad nondiscrimination protection for individuals with disabilities in employment, public services, and public accommodations and services operated by private entities. Although the ADA does not include provisions specifically discussing its application to disasters, its nondiscrimination provisions are applicable to emergency preparedness and responses to disasters. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490879/
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
This report discusses Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Act, which was enacted by the 108th Congress as Section 1057 of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 108-136). It includes background of the SAFER Act, appropriations from FY2010-FY2011, reauthorization of the program in the House and Senate, and information about program implementation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc461947/
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits are available only to those individuals who have become unemployed as a direct result of a declared major disaster. First created in 1970 through P.L. 91-606, DUA benefits are authorized by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Relief Act (the Stafford Act), which authorizes the President to issue a major disaster declaration after state and local government resources have been overwhelmed by a natural catastrophe or, "regardless of cause, any fire, flood, or explosion in any part of the United States." This report contains information on how to ascertain if an individual is eligible for DUA benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491448/
Community Development Block Grant Funds in Disaster Relief and Recovery
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 is considering $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). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490858/
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
This report discusses the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, also known as fire grants of the FIRE Act grant program, which was established by Title XVII of the FY2001 National Defense Authorization Act. The program provides federal grants directly to local fire departments and unaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to help address a variety of equipment, training, and other firefighter-related and EMS needs. This report also discusses the possible reauthorization of AFG and the related Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Firefighters (SAFER) program. Current debates on the issue revolve around a competition for funding between career/urban/suburban departments and volunteer/rural departments. Complicating the issue is the recent economic downturn, which has left many local communities increasingly hard pressed to allocate funding for their local fire departments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491176/
Tax Issues and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Legal Analysis of Payments and Tax Relief Policy Options
This report provides analysis of various policy options for providing tax relief to oil spill victims, highlighting the circumstantial differences between previous natural disasters and the current oil spill. The report concludes with a brief summary of current legislative efforts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491474/
Potential Stafford Act Declarations for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, which authorizes the President to issue "major disaster" or "emergency" declarations before or after catastrophes occur. Emergency declarations trigger aid that protects property, public health, and safety and lessens or averts the threat of an incident becoming a catastrophic event. A major disaster declaration, issued after a catastrophe occurs, constitutes broader authority for federal agencies to provide supplemental assistance to help state and local governments, families and individuals, and certain nonprofit organizations recover from the incident. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491002/
Public Safety Communications and Spectrum Resources: Policy Issues for Congress
This report discusses possible actions for improving emergency communications. Congress has before it an opportunity to bring public safety communications into the 21st century by assuring that a nationwide, interoperable communications network is put in place. The tools at its disposal include homeland security policy, spectrum policy, funding programs, and leadership. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491012/
Commercial Fishery Disaster Assistance
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. A commercial fishery failure occurs when fishermen endure economic hardships resulting from fish population declines or other disruptions to the fishery. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491599/
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits are available only to those individuals who have become unemployed as a direct result of a declared major disaster. This report contains information on how to ascertain if an individual is eligible for DUA benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490986/
United States Fire Administration: An Overview
This report discusses the United States Fire Administration (USFA), which aims 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491452/
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
This report discusses Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Act, which was enacted by the 108th Congress as Section 1057 of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 108-136). It includes background of the SAFER Act, appropriations from FY2010-FY2011, reauthorization of the program in the House and Senate, and information about program implementation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462889/
Emergency Communications: Broadband and the Future of 911
Today's 911 system is built on an infrastructure of analog technology that does not support many of the features that most Americans expect to be part of an emergency response. Efforts to splice newer, digital technologies onto this aging infrastructure have created points of failure where a call can be dropped or misdirected, sometimes with tragic consequences. Callers to 911, however, generally assume that the newer technologies they are using to place a call are matched by the same level of technology at the 911 call centers, known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). This report discusses possible paths toward the modernization of the 911 infrastructure. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491651/
Community Development Block Grant Funds in Disaster Relief and Recovery
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). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94022/
Comparison of the Current World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and the World Trade Center Health Program Proposed by Title I of H.R. 847
This report compares the current federally supported medical screening and treatment program offered to various persons affected by the terrorist attack on New York City on September 11, 2001, with the federal program proposed to be established by Title I of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, as amended and passed by the House of Representatives. The World Trade Center (WTC) Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program (MMTP) and the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) are the specific programs compared in this report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491365/
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
This report discusses the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, also known as fire grants of the FIRE Act grant program, which was established by Title XVII of the FY2001 National Defense Authorization Act. The program provides federal grants directly to local fire departments and unaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to help address a variety of equipment, training, and other firefighter-related and EMS needs. This report also discusses the possible reauthorization of AFG and the related Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Firefighters (SAFER) program. Current debates on the issue revolve around a competition for funding between career/urban/suburban departments and volunteer/rural departments. Complicating the issue is the recent economic downturn, which has left many local communities increasingly hard pressed to allocate funding for their local fire departments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31404/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
This report has two sections. The first provides an overview of the current U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs: federal crop insurance, NAP payments, emergency disaster loans, the new Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), and four other smaller disaster programs authorized in the 2008 farm bill. The second section reviews the recent history of emergency supplemental farm disaster assistance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491372/
Flooding in Pakistan: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the recent widespread flooding in Pakistan, which has affected about 20 million Pakistanis. U.S. interest in the flooding stems from the significant humanitarian and economic implications for Pakistan, and the security implications for U.S. interests in the region. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31377/
Flooding in Pakistan: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the recent widespread flooding in Pakistan, which has affected about 20 million Pakistanis. U.S. interest in the flooding stems from the significant humanitarian and economic implications for Pakistan, and the security implications for U.S. interests in the region. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29609/
United States Fire Administration: An Overview
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) - which includes the National Fire Academy (NFA) - is currently an entity 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. In the 111th Congress, debate over the USFA budget focuses on whether the USFA is receiving sufficient 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29720/
Tax Issues and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Legal Analysis of Payments and Tax Relief Policy Options
This report will briefly discuss existing disaster-related tax provisions and their application to the recent Depewater Horizon oil rig explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The report then provides an analysis of the tax treatment of the BP payments to the individuals and businesses impacted by the oil spill as well as various policy options for providing tax relief to oil spill victims, highlighting the circumstantial differences between previous natural disasters and the current oil spill. The report concludes with a brief summary of current legislative efforts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29598/
Comparison of the Current World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and the World Trade Center Health Program Proposed by Title I of H.R. 847
This report compares the current federally supported medical screening and treatment program offered to various persons affected by the terrorist attack on New York City on September 11, 2001, with the federal program proposed to be established by Title I of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, as amended and passed by the House of Representatives. The World Trade Center (WTC) Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program (MMTP) and the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) are the specific programs compared in this report. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29594/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
This report has two sections. The first provides an overview of the current U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs: federal crop insurance, NAP payments, emergency disaster loans, the new Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), and four other smaller disaster programs authorized in the 2008 farm bill. The second section reviews the recent history of emergency supplemental farm disaster assistance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29731/
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA): A Summary
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29657/
Flooding in Pakistan: Overview and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the recent widespread flooding in Pakistan, which has affected about 20 million Pakistanis. U.S. interest in the flooding stems from the significant humanitarian and economic implications for Pakistan, and the security implications for U.S. interests in the region. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31376/
A Whole-Farm Crop Disaster Program: Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE)
This report discusses the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246, 2008 farm bill), which created a set of disaster programs called "Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance." The programs supplement crop insurance coverage and provide disaster assistance for livestock (including aquaculture and honey bees), forage, and tree and nursery crops. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491131/
Comparison of the Current World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and the World Trade Center Health Program Proposed by Title I of H.R. 847
This report compares the current federally supported medical screening and treatment program offered to various persons affected by the terrorist attack on New York City on September 11, 2001, with the federal program proposed to be established by Title I of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, as amended and passed by the House of Representatives. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491211/
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings
This report discusses the mainstays of the U.S. capacity to issue warnings: the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which relies primarily on broadcasting media, the NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards Network. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490957/
The Americans with Disabilities Act and Emergency Preparedness and Response
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 54.4 million individuals with disabilities in the United States. The challenges faced by these individuals, and their civil rights to inclusion in disaster preparedness and response, have received increased attention after September 11, Hurricane Katrina, and other disasters. This report briefly discusses this issue, including the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31453/
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
Report that 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227993/
United States Fire Administration: An Overview
Report that describes and analyzes the United States Fire Administration's (USFA) FY2011 budget proposal, as well as related information and legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc228088/
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): Budget and Operations for FY2011
This report provides an overview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) budget and operations. This report chronicles congressional action on the FY2011 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS), and Related Agencies Appropriations bills, as well as any FY2010 supplemental appropriations bills, that provide funding for ATF. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31468/
Immigration Policies and Issues on Health-Related Grounds for Exclusion
This report discusses the criteria that foreign nationals must meet before admission to the United States, including the reasons why a foreign national might be denied admission, most particularly on health-related grounds. This report discusses such issues in relation to the recent outbreak of the 2009 H1N1 ("swine flu") virus, and how the outbreak has affected various government agencies, such as the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This report also discusses efforts to confront and address such issues on a legislative front. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491270/