The House of Representatives approved a transportation and infrastructure bill Wednesday that incorporates two legislative bills introduced by Congresswoman Laura Richardson to strengthen emergency preparedness.
During Transportation and Infrastructure Committee mark up to H.R. 2903, FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2012, Congresswoman Richardson's amendment was accepted with bipartisan approval, which ensures that the Department of Homeland Security coordinates and provides guidance to the appropriate individuals, officials, and organizations for outreach to people with disabilities during unforeseen disasters.
"My language, which was marked up in the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and accepted unanimously, would provide a series of checks and balances that keep the American people safe."
"My language would ensure that the Department of Homeland Security coordinates and provides guidance to the appropriate individuals, officials, and organizations for outreach to people with disabilities during unforeseen disasters. Individuals with disabilities should feel as safe and secure in their communities and work environments as individuals without disabilities. Too often, however, the needs of people with disabilities are not considered in emergency planning, despite the fact that the need for such planning has received an increased focus, said Congresswoman Richardson."
Additionally, Congresswoman Richardson included language to HR.2903 to modernize the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) to ensure that the President under all conditions is able to alert and warn governmental authorities and the civilian population in areas endangered by disasters.
"IPAWS is the generation platform for transmitting emergency alerts. In November 2011, FEMA conducted a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System for the first time in the system's 50-year existence. The system was met with wide spread problems."
"We simply cannot afford to assume the system is working. With the ever-changing threat environment and technological landscape, we cannot wait fifty years to verify that IPAWS is fully performing. My language seeks to ensure that IPAWS is regularly tested by encouraging the Administrator of FEMA to test the systems at least once every three years, said Congresswoman Richardson."