Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies

Source: Jared T. Brown, Bruce R. Lindsay, Jaclyn Petruzzell, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R41981, September 8, 2017

While the disaster response and recovery process is fundamentally a relationship between the federal government and the requesting state or tribal government, there are roles for congressional offices. For instance, congressional offices may help provide information to survivors on available federal and nonfederal assistance, oversee the coordination of federal efforts in their respective states and districts, and consider legislation to supplemental disaster assistance or authorities. Congressional offices also serve as a valuable source of accurate and timely information to their constituents on response and relief efforts….

….Before and after a disaster strikes, it is useful to understand the basic national emergency management structure and where authority rests at various stages of the process. This report provides information to aid policymakers as they navigate the many levels of responsibility, and numerous policy pressure points; it describes the laws and administrative policies governing the disaster response and recovery process. The report also reviews the legislative framework that exists for providing federal financial assistance following disasters, as well as the policies the executive branch employs to provide supplemental help to state, tribal, and local governments during time of disasters…..

Congressional Considerations Related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
Source: Jared T. Brown, Congressional Research Service, CRS Insight, IN10763, September 8, 2017

This Insight provides a short overview of issues Congress may consider in relation to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It is not intended to provide up-to-date information on unfolding events. For storm-related updates and the current status of response efforts, see official government sources (e.g., Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and National Weather Service), congressional advisories from government sources, and/or news media. For additional support, please contact available CRS experts in disaster-related issue areas….

The mental health impact of major disasters like Harvey and Irma
Source: J. Brian Houston, Jennifer First, The Conversation, September 11, 2017

What do hospitals do in a hurricane? Use their own emergency plans
Source: Daniel B. Hess, The Conversation, September 11, 2017