In the name of readying the U.S. for disaster, this bill re-authorizes a number of programs and funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
First, the bill would reauthorize FEMA through fiscal year 2018, maintaining the current funding levels — almost $950 million dollars every year.
Next, the National Advisory Council would be directed to conduct a study of the costs — in terms of lives, objects and dollars alike — of disasters. The ultimate goal would be to reduce these disaster-related costs. The study — conducted with the help of academics, insurance industry professionals, warning system manufacturers and construction experts — would be expected to offer recommendations for: examine the way a number of trends related to disasters including:
- How disaster funds are used;
- How these costs can be reduced;
- What should be considered a "disaster";
- How changing demographics and old infrastructure are impacting disasters and the responses to them;
The National Urban Search and Rescue Response System (USAR) would be reauthorized — a system that is pretty much what it sounds like: a program to rescue people trapped in collapsed structures in urban areas after a disaster. The reauthorization comes with new features, like search and rescue resources for local/regional governments, and allowing non-government personnel to participate in local search and rescue task forces.
Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) grants, which provides money for disaster-struck areas, would also have their funding renewed.