A tornado warning from the National Weather Service today comes in two settings--in effect or not--and that should be changed in favor of a more nuanced system, concludes a government investigation into the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Mo.
Delaying the onset of National Flood Insurance Program premium increases would only end up "subsidizing risk," Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate told a Nov. 19 House panel. However, FEMA does want to "work with Congress on how to we look at affordability for someone who is in their home now," Fugate told the House Financial Services subcommittee on housing and insurance.
Insurance company representatives pressed for a reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, a law set to currently expire at the end of 2014. The law, passed shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, temporarily shifts liability for terrorism-caused insurance payouts from insurers to the federal government. The law, which has been extended several times after initially being slated for expire after three years, requires a certified act of terrorism to cause at least $100 million in damage over a year before the program kicks in.
Seven new next-generation airtankers for wildfire suppression are expected to be operating in time for the 2014 wildfire season, Forest Service Deputy Chief Jim Hubbard said Nov. 5. The Forest Service's current airtankers are more than 50 years old on average.
New authorities granted the Federal Emergency Management Agency by the Sandy recovery funding law have improved post-disaster debris removal, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told a Nov. 6 Senate panel.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved by voice vote Oct. 29 a bill (H.R. 3300) that would reauthorize Federal Emergency Management Agency salaries and expenses through fiscal 2016 at a fixed rate of $972,145,000 annually.
The National Science Foundation has awarded $32 million in grants for research and projects related to natural disasters. The University of California, San Diego, received a grant to build a simulation and prediction system for wildfire behavior.
An Oct. 24 report from the Natural Resources Defense Council says that in 2011 about two-thirds of Americans lived in counties that experienced significant smoke conditions related to wildfires. In Texas, which had several highly destructive wildfires in 2011, more than 25 million people lived in counties with significant smoke conditions, the most of any state. Two of the five states with the most residents affected by smoke from wildfires didn't have any wildfires occur within their borders.
An interagency team has produced a technology that can detect a human heartbeat buried in rubble. The technology, called Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response, was developed for search-and-rescue missions by the Homeland Security Department's Science and Technology Directorate together with NASA.
Two Republican and two Democratic members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced Oct. 22 a bill reauthorizing Federal Emergency Management Agency salaries and expenses through fiscal 2016. It would authorize FEMA to spend $972,145,000 annually each year of salaries and expenses from the current fiscal year through fiscal 2016.