From the office of Congressman Bill Keating:
Washington, DC – Today, the US House of Representatives passed H.R.4, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization. Included in the legislation are two amendments offered by Congressman Bill Keating (MA) and Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (FL) to address preparation, mitigation, and response for areas that are impacted by severe weather and national disasters.
The first Keating-Murphy Amendment requires the FEMA Administrator to provide guidance and training to state and local governments, first responders, and local healthcare facilities on establishing cutting-edge emergency response plans. Such coordination would work to guarantee state and local emergency response plans are equipped with national best practices. In particular, the plans will ensure those working at and being served at these healthcare facilities are safe in the event of a major disaster or severe weather.
The second Keating-Murphy Amendment requires the FEMA Administrator to provide guidance and training to state and local governments, first responders, and hazardous waste facilities on establishing a coordinated emergency response strategies in the event of a severe weather event or major disaster. In particular, this amendment provides guidance and training on any special equipment required in the event of hazardous materials being released into the environment; any health risks associated with those substances; and best practices limiting further damage to communities from those substances.
“Over the last few years, the severe winter weather in Massachusetts, and in particular in my District, has damaged many homes and businesses and left tens of thousands without power. These powerful storms not only endangered the lives of so many, but also made it harder for hospitals and long-term care facilities to provide care,” said Congressman Keating. “It is crucial that our state and local governments, including our first responders, are given the best tools possible to limit the loss of life, and ensure these communities return to normal. The best way to mitigate damage is to prepare for every possible scenario. This extends to preparing our first responders and others for the unique dangers presented by damage to chemical plants and other facilities during storms and major disasters. We must be doing everything we possibly can to keep everyone safe, including our most vulnerable community members and our first responders.”
“As Floridians know, the best way we can protect ourselves in the event of a natural disaster is to have a strong emergency plan in place,” said Murphy. “Among the many failures that led to twelve south Florida seniors losing their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma was their nursing home did not have the necessary equipment. We cannot allow this to happen again. I’m proud to work with Congressman Keating to ensure that government at all levels and the private sector work together to better prepare for and respond to emergencies.”