(This section will be limited to major federal laws, rules, and regulations. To include local and state laws, rules, and regulations is well beyond the scope of this book. The laws, rules, and regulations found in the other chapters on specific areas such as water, air, food, land, etc. are also applicable to each of the situations during emergencies, disasters, and acts of terrorism. Therefore, go to the appropriate chapter in the area of interest.)

The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of March 2013 utilizes the existing work of the US Department of Health and Human Services to advance national health security. It authorizes funding for public health and medical preparedness programs by amending the Public Health Services Act to give state health departments flexibility in how to determine and utilize staff and other resources to meet community needs in the event of a disaster and authorizes special funding through 2018 to buy special equipment under the Project BioShield Act. It also enhances the authority of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support rapid responses in the event of public health emergencies. (See endnote 92.)

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended April 2013 is the most current law for use in major disasters and when specialized emergency assistance is needed. It is based on the congressional findings that declare that disasters often cause loss of life, human suffering and loss of property, disrupt normal governmental and community efforts and responsibilities, and impede the effort of providing aid, assistance, and emergency services as well as the reconstruction or rehabilitation of the devastated areas. The Act provides for disaster preparedness and mitigation assistance, disaster planning for preparedness, disaster warnings, and financial assistance. (See endnote 87.)

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act was passed by Congress in 1986 in response to the massive number of people who died and were injured in Bhopal, India, from the release of a hazardous chemical into the air. This disaster was followed by one similar to it in West Virginia about 6 months later. The law established requirements for federal, state, and local governments, Native American tribes, and industry to carry out emergency planning and provide information to the community about the potential hazards to people and the environment if there was an accidental release of a chemical. There are four major provisions of the law covering: emergency planning; notification of emergency releases; reporting requirements for hazardous chemical storage; and a toxic chemical release inventory. The emergency response plans have to: identify facilities with hazardous substances; describe transportation routes; describe emergency response procedures; appoint a community as well as facility coordinator to work on the plan; provide emergency notification procedures; determine the estimated affected area and population; describe the local emergency equipment and facilities needed; establish an evacuation plan; provide specialized training for emergency responders; and provide how emergency response plans will work and what schedules they will be following. It also provides information on the various chemicals and their use, the level of health hazard (immediate or delayed), their fire hazard, the effect of a sudden release of pressure, and their ability to react with other substances as well as the air and water. (See endnote 88.)

The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006, an amendment to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 2006, was a response to the loss of life especially of older people who refused to leave their pets behind during Hurricane Katrina. FEMA is responsible for developing emergency preparedness plans and making sure that they are integrated into the state and local emergency plans to provide for pets and other animals during disasters. (See endnote 89.)

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