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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Funding Emergency Communications: Technology and Policy Considerations
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93874/
Federal Funding for Wildfire Control and Management
This report looks at four issues dominating wildfire funding debates: the high cost of fire management, funding for fuel reduction, the federal role in protecting nonfederal lands, and post-fire rehabilitation. The Forest Service (FS) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responsible for protecting most federal lands from wildfires, however, many in Congress are concerned that wildfire costs are spiraling upward without a reduction in damages. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96772/
Considerations for a Catastrophic Declaration: Issues and Analysis
This report examines concerns expressed by policymakers and experts that current Stafford Act declarations are inadequate to respond to, and recover from, highly destructive events. It presents the arguments for and against amending the act to add a catastrophic declaration amendment. This report also includes data analyses of past and potential disasters to determine what incidents might be deemed as catastrophic, and explores alternative policy options that might obviate the need for catastrophic declarations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98006/
Congressional Primer on Major Disasters and Emergencies
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93900/
Earthquakes: Risk, Detection, Warning, and Research
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94096/
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, discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn, and explores related issues for the 112th Congress as they consider reauthorization. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84053/
Funding Emergency Communications: Technology and Policy Considerations
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93875/
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87308/
United States Fire Administration: An Overview
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87358/
Funding Emergency Communications: Technology and Policy Considerations
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc83967/
Wildfire Protection in the Wildland-Urban Interface
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87375/
An Examination of Federal Disaster Relief Under the Budget Control Act
This report addresses traditional funding for major disaster declarations, workings of the President's Disaster Relief Fund, a basic overview of how disaster assistance is appropriated, what factors affect how much the federal government spends on disasters, how disaster relief is impacted by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, and what the policy implications are for disaster assistance under the constraints of the BCA, and the increasing number of disaster declarations and both the possible causes and likely cost implications of a greater number of declarations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87213/
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
Background of the Fire Grants Authorization Act of 2011, including its purpose and uses of funding resulting from the act. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86643/
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87279/
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87307/
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87309/
Forest Fire/Wildfire Protection
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86639/
Wildfire Damages to Homes and Resources: Understanding Causes and Reducing Losses
Wildfires are getting more severe, with more acres and houses burned and more people at risk. This results from excess biomass in the forests, due to past logging and grazing and a century of fire suppression, combined with an expanding wild land-urban interface-more people and houses in and near the forests-and climate change, exacerbating drought and insect and disease problems. This report looks at the causes of wildfires, and the pros and cons of their treatment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84087/
Offsets, Supplemental Appropriations, and the Disaster Relief Fund: FY1990-FY2012
This report discusses the recent history of offsetting rescissions in paying for supplemental appropriations to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86620/
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 potentially 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/metadc85452/
FEMA's Community Disaster Loan Program: History, Analysis, and Issues for Congress
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). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc85428/
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87281/
The First Responder Network and Next- Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress
Background of provisions in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 for planning, building, and managing a new, nationwide, broadband network for public safety communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86635/
The First Responder Network and Next- Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87230/
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86644/
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program
This report discusses the adequate staffing for Fire and Emergency Response. It describes the SAFER Act, which was enacted by the 108th Congress as Section 1057 of the FY2004 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 108-136). The Department of Defense and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (P.L. 112-10) funded SAFER at $405 million. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86651/
United States Fire Administration: An Overview
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87359/
United States Fire Administration: An Overview
This report describes and analyzes the United States Fire Administration's (USFA) FY2013 budget proposal, as well as related information and legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122331/
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc87280/
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, discusses possible budgetary modifications to the SAFER Act that are being considered due to the recent economic downturn, and explores related issues for the 112th Congress as they consider reauthorization. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc94029/
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 FY2011-FY2013, reauthorization of the program in the House and Senate, and information about program implementation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122299/
National Flood Insurance Program: Background, Challenges, and Financial Status
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93819/
Flooding Events: CRS Experts
This table provides access to names and contact information for Congressional Research Service (CRS) experts on policy concerns relating to flooding events in the United States. Policy areas identified include impacts, response and recovery, mitigation, and federal financing. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96671/
FEMA's Community Disaster Loan Program: History, Analysis, and Issues for Congress
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). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93932/
Wildfires: CRS Experts
The following table provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to wildfires. Policy areas identified include federal wildfire policy; long-term land use management; federal firefighting assistance; federal emergency management policy; federal preparedness system and response plan; hazard mitigation; armed forces and national guard assistance; supplemental disaster funding; and disaster insurance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96672/
Federal Assistance for Wildfire Response and Recovery
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98003/
The First Responder Network and Next- Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress
This report covers a background of provisions in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 for planning, building, and managing a new, nationwide, broadband network for public safety communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122227/
Weather-Related Power Outages and Electric System Resiliency
This report focuses on the impacts of sustained power outages as might result from the result of seasonal storms, and whether there is a role for the federal government in hastening the restoration of power from weather-related outages. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122249/
Stafford Act Declarations 1953-2011: Trends and Analyses, and Implications for Congress
Report that describes the declaration process of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and the types of declarations that can be made under the Stafford Act. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227800/
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
Report that contains information on how to ascertain if an individual is eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc228136/
Federal Involvement in Flood Response and Flood Infrastructure Repair: Storm Sandy Recovery
Report regarding congressional efforts to structure federal actions and programs so they provide incentives to reduce flood risk without unduly infringing on private property rights or usurping local decision making. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227818/
Emergency Relief Program: Federal-Aid Highway Assistance for Disaster-Damaged Roads and Bridges
Report that looks at the eligibility of major highways and bridges recently damaged by Hurricanes Sandy and Irene to receive Emergency Relief Program assistance from the Federal Highway Administration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227819/
The First Responder Network and Next- Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress
Report that covers a background of provisions in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 for planning, building, and managing a new, nationwide, broadband network for public safety communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227767/
Hurricane Sandy and the 2012 Election: Fact Sheet
Report examining what actions the federal government might take to respond to Hurricane Sandy's impact on the November 6, 2012, election. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227822/
Army Corps Supplemental Appropriations: Recent History, Trends, and Policy Issues
Report that summarizes recent trends in supplemental funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, particularly related to natural disasters. It provides summary data and analysis on Corps funding over the last 10 years and includes a general discussion of how the Corps funds emergency actions at its own facilities and elsewhere. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227832/
Tax Provisions to Assist with Disaster Recovery
Report that provides a basic overview of existing, permanent provisions that benefit victims of disasters, as well as past, targeted legislative responses to particular disasters. The relief is discussed without examining either the qualifications for or the limitation on claiming the provisions' benefits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227830/
Federal Emergency Management: A Brief Introduction
Report that is designed to provide Members of Congress and congressional staff with a general overview of principles and foundations of federal emergency management in the United States as well as the types of activities provided by various federal agencies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227837/
Offsets, Supplemental Appropriations, and the Disaster Relief Fund: FY1990-FY2013
Report that discusses the recent history of offsetting rescissions in paying for supplemental appropriations to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227752/
Wildfire Fuels and Fuel Reduction
This report examines wildfire biomass fuels. It discusses fuel characteristics and their relation to wildfire intensity and spread, and includes 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/metadc282274/
Wildfire Protection in the Wildland-Urban Interface
Report that describes the growth of the wildland-urban interface, wildfire suppression efforts, post-fire responses, and especially the programs and options for protecting the interface before the next wildfire strikes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc228125/