What is a state of emergency and what does it mean? – The Sun

A STATE of emergency has been declared ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

Tighter measures are now in place after after MAGA supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington DC.

What is a state of emergency?

A state of emergency is a situation which allows the government increase powers in the area. It can be declared for a number of reasons including civil unrest or a natural disaster. In some extreme cases it can mean that martial law is put into effect.

Following the violence at the US Capitol building on January 6, a state of emergency has been declared given the unrest in Washington DC.

The President declared a state of emergency in the nation's capital on January 11 ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

Trump ordered federal agencies to provide assistance to local law enforcement as fears of violence continued to mount a week after MAGA supporters stormed the Capitol.

"Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency," the declaration states.

"Emergency protective measures, limited to direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 100 percent Federal funding."

What does it mean when one is declared?

A state of emergency gives the government a wide range of special powers to deal with the situation at hand. In the US, the President can declare an emergency at a national level which brings 500 federal laws into effect. State governors or mayors can also declare a state of emergency covering their jurisdiction. It varies from country to country but things that could be invoked by the government following the declaration are:

  • In some cases, conscript citizens to help with efforts to manage the emergency
  • In others, to authorise qualified citizens to assist in emergency management efforts
  • Confiscate equipment and property that will assist in emergency management
  • Make goods and resources available for distribution to those areas impacted
  • Fix prices of goods and services, to avoid incidences of "price gouging"
  • Impose a curfew on residents of the affected areas
  • Prohibit, or at least limit, travel to, from or within the areas impacted by the emergency
  • Establish emergency shelters
  • Enter any building without a warrant
  • Order residents to evacuate the affected areas

When has the US declared a state of emergency?

Here's a list of a few times when a state of emergency has been enforced in the US:

  • North Carolina governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency after Hurricane Florence headed towards the state, and shortly after Virginia followed suit.
  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued a state of emergency due to impacts of red tide on August 13, 2018. He said: “As Southwest Florida and the Tampa Bay area continues to feel the devastating impacts of red tide, we will continue taking an aggressive approach by using all available resources to help our local communities. Today, I am issuing an emergency declaration to provide significant funding and resources to the communities experiencing red tide so we can combat its terrible impacts."
  • President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in California in January 2019 when a series of deadly wildfires ravaged the state.
  • During the Congressional shutdown of early January in 2019, Mike Pence and President Trump have explored the possibility of circumventing Congress in order to have the Mexico border wall built.
  • President George W. Bush declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
  • The United States has technically been in a state of emergency since September 14 2001. It was declared in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks and has been extended every year since.


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