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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings

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

Date: June 26, 2009
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Chite, Ralph M. & Shields, Dennis A.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Financing Catastrophic Risk: Summary of the Homeowners' Defense Act of 2009 (S. 505 and H.R. 2555)

Financing Catastrophic Risk: Summary of the Homeowners' Defense Act of 2009 (S. 505 and H.R. 2555)

Date: July 1, 2009
Creator: King, Rawle O.
Description: 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.
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Project BioShield: Purposes and Authorities

Project BioShield: Purposes and Authorities

Date: July 6, 2009
Creator: Gottron, Frank
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program: Overview and Issues

FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program: Overview and Issues

Date: July 10, 2009
Creator: McCarthy, Francis X. & Keegan, Natalie
Description: 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.
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FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program: Overview and Issues

FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program: Overview and Issues

Date: July 10, 2009
Creator: McCarthy, Francis X. & Keegan, Natalie
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Disaster Relief Funding and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations

Disaster Relief Funding and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations

Date: July 15, 2009
Creator: Lindsay, Bruce A. & Murray, Justin
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Disaster Relief Funding and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations

Disaster Relief Funding and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations

Date: July 15, 2009
Creator: Lindsay, Bruce A. & Murray, Justin
Description: 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).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
FY2009 Spring Supplemental Appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations

FY2009 Spring Supplemental Appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations

Date: July 15, 2009
Creator: Daggett, Stephen; Epstein, Susan B.; Tarnoff, Curt; Margesson, Rhoda; Nakamura, Kennon H.; Kronstadt, K. Alan et al.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
National Flood Insurance Program: Background, Challenges, and Financial Status

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

Date: July 30, 2009
Creator: King, Rawle O.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Department of Homeland Security Assistance to States and Localities: A Summary and Issues for the 111th Congress

Department of Homeland Security Assistance to States and Localities: A Summary and Issues for the 111th Congress

Date: August 5, 2009
Creator: Reese, Shawn
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: An Overview

The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: An Overview

Date: August 6, 2009
Creator: Lister, Sarah A. & Redhead, C. Stephen
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): Budget and Operations

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): Budget and Operations

Date: August 6, 2009
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: 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.
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The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues

The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues

Date: August 11, 2009
Creator: Swendiman, Kathleen S. & Jones, Nancy L.
Description: This report provides a brief overview of selected legal issues regarding the H1N1 influenza, including emergency measures, civil rights, liability issues, and employment issues.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and All-Hazard Warnings

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

Date: August 14, 2009
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding

Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding

Date: August 28, 2009
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program

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

Date: August 28, 2009
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues

The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues

Date: September 1, 2009
Creator: Swendiman, Kathleen S. & Jones, Nancy Lee
Description: This report provides a brief overview of selected legal issues including emergency measures, civil rights, liability issues, and employment issues.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
United States Fire Administration: An Overview

United States Fire Administration: An Overview

Date: September 1, 2009
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes in the United States

Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes in the United States

Date: September 8, 2009
Creator: Folger, Peter
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Amber Alert Program Technology

Amber Alert Program Technology

Date: September 9, 2009
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Wildfire Fuels and Fuel Reduction

Wildfire Fuels and Fuel Reduction

Date: September 16, 2009
Creator: Gorte, Ross W.
Description: This report examines wildfire biomass fuels. It begins with a discussion of fuel characteristics and their relation to wildfire intensity and spread. This is followed with a description of actions proposed to reduce biomass fuel levels, their effectiveness for protecting property and resources from wildfires, and their impacts on other resource values. It concludes with an examination of the federal authorities for fuel reduction activities on federal and non-federal lands, together with data on the funding provided under each of these authorities.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Emergency Communications: The Future of 911

Emergency Communications: The Future of 911

Date: September 28, 2009
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Description: This report discusses possible paths toward the modernization of the 911 emergency response system's infrastructure.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues

The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues

Date: October 8, 2009
Creator: Swendiman, Kathleen S. & Jones, Nancy Lee
Description: This report provides a brief overview of selected legal issues including emergency measures, civil rights, liability issues, and employment issues.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department