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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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/
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/metadc462295/
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/metadc626971/
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: An Overview
This report provides a synopsis of key events in the H1N1 pandemic response, followed by information about selected federal emergency management authorities and actions taken by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Health and Human Services (HHS), and state and local authorities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc627240/
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/metadc501771/
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/metadc627220/
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/metadc462374/
United States Fire Administration: An Overview
This report describes and analyzes the U.S. Fire Administration's (USFA) FY2010 budget proposal, as well as related information and legislation. The (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/metadc626989/
California Drought: Hydrological and Regulatory Water Supply Issues
This report discusses California's current hydrological situation and provides background on regulatory restrictions affecting California water deliveries, as well as on the long-established state water rights system, which also results in uneven water deliveries in times of shortages. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc626963/
Would an Influenza Pandemic Qualify as a Major Disaster Under the Stafford Act?
This report provides a legal analysis of the eligibility of an influenza pandemic to be declared by the President as a major disaster under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc626930/
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/metadc462191/
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/metadc505473/
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/metadc505482/
Haiti Earthquake: Crisis and Response
This report discusses the Haiti earthquake disaster and various responses, ranging from the Haitian government's initial response to foreign humanitarian and financial aid. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc627059/
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/metadc505468/
Charitable Contributions for Haiti's Earthquake Victims
This report discusses the Haiti Assistance Income Tax Incentive Act (HAITI Act; H.R. 4462), a bill passed on January 20, 2010 to accelerate the income tax benefits for charitable cash contributions for the relief of earthquake victims. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc505529/
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/metadc505452/
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/metadc501731/
Emergency Communications: The Future of 911
This report discusses possible paths toward the modernization of the 911 infrastructure. Efforts to splice newer, digital technologies onto the aging infrastructure have created points of failure where a call can be dropped or misdirected, sometimes with tragic consequences. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc503419/
Federal Stafford Act Disaster Assistance: Presidential Declarations, Eligible Activities, and Funding
This report discusses the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act) that authorizes the President to issue major disaster, emergency, and fire management declarations, which in turn enable federal agencies to provide assistance to state and local governments overwhelmed by catastrophes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc505387/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc505625/
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc505583/
Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces: Facts and Issues
This report provides an overview of the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) task forces that has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide specialized assistance after buildings or other structures collapse. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc503421/
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/metadc503549/
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/metadc501760/