Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

ABOUT BROWSE FEED

The First Responder Network and Next- Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress

Description: 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.
Date: May 23, 2012
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: 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.
Date: February 14, 2012
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: 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.
Date: January 3, 2012
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: 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.
Date: February 14, 2012
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

United States Fire Administration: An Overview

Description: 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.
Date: January 3, 2012
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

United States Fire Administration: An Overview

Description: 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.
Date: June 1, 2012
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Wildfire Fuels and Fuel Reduction

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.
Date: September 16, 2009
Creator: Gorte, Ross W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Wildfire Protection in the Wildland-Urban Interface

Description: 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.
Date: January 23, 2012
Creator: Gorte, Ross W. & Bracmort, Kelsi
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding

Description: 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.
Date: June 3, 2011
Creator: Kruger, Lennard G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Projects: Authorization and Appropriations

Description: This report explains how the congressional authorization and appropriations process overlays the Corps' project development process. Special attention is given to initiating a water resources study, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) process, civil works appropriations, and emergency response activities.
Date: May 1, 2008
Creator: Carter, Nicole T. & Hughes, H. S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA): A Summary

Description: 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.
Date: March 19, 2008
Creator: Schierow, Linda-Jo
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Legislation for Disaster Assistance: Summary Data

Description: This report provides summary information on emergency supplemental appropriations enacted after major disasters since 1989. The report discusses the most recent and costly disasters occurred in the summer of 2005 when Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma made landfall in Gulf Coast states.
Date: August 14, 2008
Creator: Murray, Justin & Lindsay, Bruce R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

FEMA Disaster Housing and Hurricane Katrina: Overview, Analysis, and Congressional Issues

Description: This report discusses the issues with the housing policies of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), particularly as they relate to the Post-Katrina Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-295) and the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Plan (P.L. 93-288). It includes an overview of the Stafford Act sections 403 and 408 as well as a breakdown of issues for Congress and possible Congressional approaches to address the policies.
Date: August 8, 2008
Creator: McCarthy, Francis X.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

FEMA's Community Disaster Loan Program: History, Analysis, and Issues for Congress

Description: 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).
Date: July 3, 2012
Creator: Brown, Jared T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Funding Emergency Communications: Technology and Policy Considerations

Description: 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.
Date: October 4, 2011
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Funding Emergency Communications: Technology and Policy Considerations

Description: 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.
Date: June 23, 2011
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Flood Risk Management and Levees: A Federal Primer

Description: This report provides a primer on responsibilities for flood management, describes the role of federal agencies, and discusses flood issues before the 110th Congress. The report also discusses the legislative response to Hurricane Katrina.
Date: June 20, 2008
Creator: Cody, Betsy A. & Carter, Nicole T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: 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.
Date: June 12, 2012
Creator: King, Rawle O.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Commercial Fishery Disaster Assistance

Description: This report discusses disaster relief for commercial fishery, which be provided by the federal government to assist the fishing industry when it is affected by a commercial fishery failure.
Date: May 2, 2008
Creator: Upton, Harold F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: This report gives an overview of issues and legislation relating to the Emergency Alert System (EAS). It includes a discussion of the EAS administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radios, all-hazard warning technology, proposals and programs, the executive order regarding the public alert and warning system and legislation from the 109th and 110th Congresses.
Date: August 25, 2008
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Congressional Primer on Major Disasters and Emergencies

Description: 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.
Date: August 31, 2011
Creator: McCarthy, Francis X. & Brown, Jared T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Community Development Block Grant Funds in Disaster Relief and Recovery

Description: This report discusses how Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs are funded by Congress and what they have been used for in recent years: recovery efforts following terrorist attacks, riots, and natural disasters. The 111th Congress has approved $100 million in CDBG funds to help states and communities undertake disaster recovery activities in presidentially declared disaster areas affected by severe storms and flooding during the period from March 2010 through May 2010. The act limited distribution of these funds to states where the entire state was declared a disaster area (Rhode Island) and to states where at least 20 counties within the state were declared disaster areas (Tennessee, Kentucky, and Nebraska).
Date: September 1, 2010
Creator: Boyd, Eugene
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Earthquakes: Risk, Detection, Warning, and Research

Description: 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.
Date: September 2, 2011
Creator: Folger, Peter
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department