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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Federal Evacuation Policy: Issues for Congress
This report discusses federal evacuation policy and analyzes potential lessons learned from the evacuation of individuals from Hurricane Katrina. Several issue areas that might arise concerning potential lawmaking and oversight on evacuation policy are also highlighted. This report will be updated as significant legislative or administrative changes occur. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26287/
Emergency Preparedness and Hazard Mitigation: CRS Experts
This report includes a table that provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to emergency preparedness and hazard mitigation. Includes a number of policy areas, such as: emergency preparedness and protection missions, functions, and structures; emergency authorities; preparedness plans; communications networks; warning systems; and state and local homeland security funding, training, and standards. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc627097/
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/metadc700792/
Federal Tort Claims Act
The Federal Tort Claims Act is the statute by which the United States authorizes tort suits to be brought against itself. With exceptions, it makes the United States liable for injuries caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any federal employee acting within the scope of his employment, in accordance with the law of the state where the act or omission occurred. This report discusses, among other things, the application of the Feres doctrine to suits for injuries caused by medical malpractice in the military, the prohibition of suits by victims of atomic testing, Supreme Court cases interpreting the discretionary function exception, the extent to which federal employees may be held liable for torts they commit in the scope of their employment, and the government contractor defense to products liability design defect suits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29494/
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues
Recent human cases of infection with a novel influenza A(H1N1) virus have been identified both internationally and in the United States. Since there has been human to human transmission and the new virus has the potential to become pandemic, it is timely to examine legal issues surrounding this emerging public health threat. This report will provide a brief overview of selected legal issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689254/
Project BioShield: Purposes and Authorities
This report discusses the three main provisions of Project BioShield, funding for Project BioShield, and additional measures that Congress has considered since Project BioShield's implementation to further encourage CBRN countermeasure development. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700763/
FY2009 Spring Supplemental Appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations
This report discusses the White House's request for supplemental appropriations that include funding for defense, foreign affairs, and domestic fire fighting. The report details the different programs and areas that the appropriations would fund, including operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, preparedness and emergency management measures relating to the swine flu outbreak, border security between the United States and Mexico, benchmark assessment in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and other general defense operations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26149/
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues
Recent human cases of infection with a novel influenza A(H1N1) virus have been identified both internationally and in the United States. Since there has been human to human transmission and the new virus has the potential to become pandemic, it is timely to examine legal issues surrounding this emerging public health threat. This report will provide a brief overview of selected legal issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689481/
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/metadc501625/
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 FY2005-FY2010, reauthorization of the program in the House and Senate, and information about program implementation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463189/
United States Fire Administration: An Overview
This report describes and analyzes the Administration's FY2010 budget proposal, as well as related information and legislation. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc627129/
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/metadc26155/
USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives After 15 Years: Issues for Congress
This report discusses USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives' (OTI's) origin, its past and present activities, and issues about the program's impact, structure, and role within USAID that may be of interest to Congress. OTI's activities are overtly political, based on the idea that in the midst of political crisis and instability abroad there are local agents of change whose efforts, when supported by timely and creative U.S. assistance, can tip the balance toward peaceful and democratic outcomes that advance U.S. foreign policy objectives. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743579/
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 (1) the purpose and number of assistance programs; (2) the evaluation of the use of grant funding; (3) the determination of eligible grant recipients; (4) the programs' funding amounts; and (5) the programs; funding distribution methodologies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26137/
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: An Overview
This report first provides a synopsis of key events, actions taken, and authorities invoked by WHO, the U.S. federal government, and state and local governments. It then discusses the WHO process to determine the phase of a flu pandemic, and selected actions taken by the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, and by state and local authorities. Next, it lists congressional hearings held to date, and provides information about appropriations and funding for pandemic flu activities. Finally, it summarizes U.S. government pandemic flu planning documents and lists sources for additional information about the situation as it unfolds. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26151/
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues
In late April 2009, human cases of infection with a novel influenza A(H1N1) virus, commonly known as "swine flu," were identified. Since then, the virus has become widespread. It is timely to examine the legal issues surrounding this public health threat. This report provides a brief overview of selected legal issues including emergency measures, civil rights, liability issues, and employment issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26152/
FY2009 Spring Supplemental Appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations
This report discusses the White House's request for supplemental appropriations that include funding for defense, foreign affairs, and domestic fire fighting. The report details the different programs and areas that the appropriations would fund, including operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, preparedness and emergency management measures relating to the swine flu outbreak, border security between the United States and Mexico, benchmark assessment in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and other general defense operations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26148/
Emergency Communications: 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 are 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. This report discusses efforts to modernize and update 911 emergency response technology, the funding for such efforts, and related pieces of legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26293/
Peacekeeping/Stabilization and Conflict Transitions: Background and Congressional Action on the Civilian Response/Reserve Corps and other Civilian Stabilization and Reconstruction Capabilities
This report provides background information relating to the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) in the Office of the Secretary of State. This office was created in mid-2004 as part of the Bush Administration's efforts to develop adequate civilian organizational structures, procedures, and personnel to respond effectively to post-conflict, "stabilization and reconstruction" situations, most especially in Afghanistan and Iran. This report also discusses proposals and tracks related legislative action. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26227/
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, also known as fire grants or the FIRE Act grant program, was established by the FY2001 National Defense Authorization Act. The fire grant program is now in its ninth year. Over $4.8 billion has been appropriated to the fire grant program since FY2001. This report discusses the inception of this program, as well as current supplemental legislation and proposed funding, which is already projected to provoke negative criticism from the fire community for being inadequate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26215/
National Flood Insurance Program: Background, Challenges, and Financial Status
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26167/
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: U.S. Responses to Global Human Cases
This report discusses the April 2009 outbreak of the influenza strain known as H1N1, or commonly, swine influenza. This report describes the distribution of the virus and the statistics of affected areas, as well as international and U.S. efforts to treat infected persons, respond to outbreaks in various countries (such as Mexico and other Latin American nations), and prepare for a possible influenza pandemic. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26157/
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Act (the "SAFER Act") was enacted by the 108th Congress as part of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act. This report describes the SAFER Act in brief and discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26234/
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/metadc26305/
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is built on a structure conceived in the 1950's when over-the-air broadcasting was the best-available technology for widely disseminating emergency alerts. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), working with the Association of Public Television Stations, is implementing a program that will disseminate national alert messages over digital broadcast airwaves, using satellite and public TV broadcast towers. This program is referred to as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). Legislation was passed at the end of the 109th Congress to assure funding to public television stations to install digital equipment to handle national alerts. The 111th Congress may pursue additional oversight to related programs that would continue to improve the nation's capability to provide alerts and information before, during, and after an emergency. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26220/
Agricultural Disaster Assistance
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several permanently authorized programs to help farmers recover financially from a natural disaster, including federal crop insurance, the noninsured assistance program (NAP), and emergency disaster loans. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (otherwise known as the 2008 farm bill) includes authorization and funding for crop disaster programs, livestock assistance programs, and a tree assistance program. The new programs are designed to address the ad hoc nature of disaster assistance provided to producers during the last two decades. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26312/
Financing Catastrophic Risk: Summary of the Homeowners' Defense Act of 2009 (S. 505 and H.R. 2555)
This report discusses the drastic increase in demand for homeowners' insurance in Atlantic and Gulf Coast states following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. This report also discusses various measures and efforts underway to enhance insurer capacity, pursue alternative forms of risk transfer, and create a national catastrophe financing facility, the last of which is an issue under considerable debate. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26174/
Project BioShield: Purposes and Authorities
Many potential chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism agents lack available countermeasures. In 2003, President Bush proposed Project BioShield to address this need. The Project BioShield Act became law in July 2004. This report discusses the three main provisions of Project BioShield, funding for Project BioShield, and additional measures that Congress has considered since Project BioShield's implementation to further encourage CBRN countermeasure development. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26313/
FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program: Overview and Issues
Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM), as federal law and a program activity, began in 1997. Congress established a pilot program, which FEMA named "Project Impact," to test the concept of investing prior to disasters to reduce the vulnerability of communities to future disasters. From its beginnings as "Project Impact" to its current state, the PDM program has grown in its level of appropriated resources and the scope of participation nationwide. Along with that growth have come issues for Congressional consideration, including the approach for awarding grant funds, the eligibility of certain applicants, the eligibility of certain projects, the degree of commitment by state and local governments, and related questions. This report discusses PDM, "Project Impact," and related legislative issues that Congress currently faces. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26279/
FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program: Overview and Issues
This report discusses Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM), "Project Impact," and related legislative issues that Congress currently faces. PDM, as federal law and a program activity, began in 1997. Congress established a pilot program, which FEMA named "Project Impact," to test the concept of investing prior to disasters to reduce the vulnerability of communities to future disasters. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689454/
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 (DHS). 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/metadc26190/
Disaster Relief Funding and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations
This report describes the various components of the Disaster Relief Fund, including what authorities have shaped it over the years; how FEMA determines the amount of the appropriation requested to Congress (pertaining to the DRF); and 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 (DHS). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689162/
FY2009 Spring Supplemental Appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations
This report discusses the White House's request for supplemental appropriations that include funding for defense, foreign affairs, and domestic fire fighting. The report details the different programs and areas that the appropriations would fund, including operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, preparedness and emergency management measures relating to the swine flu outbreak, border security between the United States and Mexico, benchmark assessment in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and other general defense operations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689253/
National Flood Insurance Program: Background, Challenges, and Financial Status
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/metadc689309/
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/metadc700583/
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: An Overview
This report describes the World Health Organization (WHO) process to determine the phase of a threatened or emerging flu pandemic, and touches on several related issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc627009/
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): Budget and Operations
This report provides an overview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) budget and operations. The ATF is the lead federal law enforcement agency charged with administering and enforcing federal laws related to the manufacture, importation, and distribution of firearms and explosives. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689494/
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues
This report provides a brief overview of selected legal issues regarding the H1N1 influenza, including emergency measures, civil rights, liability issues, and employment issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689377/
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, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All-Hazards Network. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc505575/
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/metadc501585/
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 FY2009-FY2010, reauthorization of the program in the House and Senate, and information about program implementation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463103/
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues
This report provides a brief overview of selected legal issues including emergency measures, civil rights, liability issues, and employment issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689421/
United States Fire Administration: An Overview
This report describes and analyzes the Administration's FY2010 budget proposal, as well as related information and legislation. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc627251/
Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes in the United States
This report discusses the natural basis of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes and the risk associated with them. The report also examines several options Congress could consider to potentially reduce the costs these destructive natural events. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462516/
Amber Alert Program Technology
This report discusses Amber Alerts (also referred to as AMBER plans) which use technology to disseminate information about child abductions in a timely manner. Technologies used for alerts include the Emergency Alert System (EAS), highway messages boards, telephone alert systems, the Internet, text messaging, and email. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689331/
Wildfire Fuels and Fuel Reduction
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87146/
Emergency Communications: The Future of 911
This report discusses possible paths toward the modernization of the 911 emergency response system's infrastructure. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689326/
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues
This report provides a brief overview of selected legal issues including emergency measures, civil rights, liability issues, and employment issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689364/
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: An Overview
This report first provides a synopsis of key events, actions taken, and authorities invoked by World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. federal government, and state and local governments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc626907/
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: An Overview
This report describes the World Health Organization (WHO) process to determine the phase of a threatened or emerging flu pandemic, and touches on several related issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc627090/